Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Small Town Named Quiet Anchorage

I wrote this guest blog for my first cozy mystery title Quiet Anchorage and have reprinted it here in my Cracked Rearview Mirror Weblog.

As far as I know, no small town exists that’s called Quiet Anchorage. Just plain Anchorage in Alaska, sure, but not Quiet Anchorage. How I derived the name is lost to my memory. Perhaps I spotted the nautical term—quiet anchorage—used somewhere in my reading. On the other hand, the small town’s creation sprang out of my own personal experience. I grew up in a rural hamlet located in Virginia. While not a unique upbringing, there is a distinctive vibe to a small town you can only pick up by hanging out there.

My small town was a whistle stop along the railroad. A lazy river with an old mule canal meandered through the town. There was one traffic light. A laundromat, bank, drugstore, grocer, clothier, florist, and hardware store lined Main Street. The local eccentrics perched on a sunny bench situated in front of the clothing store. In other words, my small town was like any other one dotting the American landscape. My make-believe Quiet Anchorage was based on what impressions I soaked up after all these years later.

I had some concerns of adopting a setting—the small town—that’s been used over and over in modern fiction, especially mysteries which is the genre I practice in the most. But then I thought of all the novels that are set in New York City, Boston, or New Orleans (pre-Katrina, of course). There’s nothing wrong with any of those places (I honeymooned in The Big Apple). It’s just that I’ve been to those large cities so many times already. Then I felt a little better about picking my small town as the setting. My two septuagenarian sisters, Alma and Isabel Trumbo, solve a homicide mystery after their niece Megan is accused of killing her fianc√© Jake.

One of the main appeals to the writing of Quiet Anchorage was settling into the leisurely pace and slower rhythms of the small town existence. The town isn’t close to being a seedy, desolate locale as you’d encounter when reading a noirish yarn. Quiet Anchorage is both a nice place to visit and even go live. Families live there, and children play there. When Jake’s murder rocks its axis, the townspeople reel from the shock over the lurid deed unheard of until then.

The local sheriff is convinced in his rush to effect an arrest of Megan’s guilt. Of course, he underestimates the resilience, tenacity, and wiles of her two little, old aunts. There’s a Southern expression used that says when an old lady dies, a library burns down. So true, it applies here. As natives, Alma and Isabel know their town inside and out. All the dirty secrets, old scandals and lengthy grudges mark where they begin their prying around. Plus their lifetime as mystery reading fans has schooled them well in the ways to root out a killer in hiding. My hope is the reader will like them and cheer them on in their investigation.

Quiet Anchorage is my first cozy mystery. There’s no sex or violence in it. My previous books have been in the hardboiled or noir vein that tells an edgier, hairier narrative. My reservation, among the several I had, doubted if I could pull off spinning a credible, entertaining story of my two amateur lady sleuths. So far, the reviewer and reader comments on Quiet Anchorage have been favorable ones. That’s a relief to me. I haven’t fallen on my face or embarrassed myself. In fact, I may elect to press ahead and write a sequel to launch a series. I just don’t know quite yet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

RELEASE DAY: My Next Cozy Mystery Title: The Cashmere Shroud

Today my next title The Cashmere Shroud in the Isabel and Alma Trumbo Cozy Mystery Series goes up on Amazon, both as an e-book and the paperback version (it took longer to appear). Here's the book's description from my publisher's website:

Ray Burl kept his nose to the grindstone and didn't talk much, even to his daughter. He didn't seem like the kind of man to make enemies, but now he's been murdered...and his daughter, Sammi Jo, is Sheriff Fox's only suspect. Fortunately, Sammi Jo has two friends willing to help.

Sisters Isabel and Alma Trumbo may have lived in small-town Quiet Anchorage for most of their (long) lives, but they've spent much of that time reading and playing Scrabble. And their favorite books are mysteries. They consider themselves quite the experts on crime detection and clue-ferreting.

Of course, when it comes to physically tackling evil-doers, their aging bodies aren't quite the thing. They may not be the perfect allies, but Sammi Jo can count on their loyalty, and their certainty that Sammi Jo would never have hurt her father, no matter that the sheriff thinks she's the easiest answer.

The Trumbo sisters' investigation takes them to the gossip-mongering clique at the laundromat, the three men permanently seated outside a shop on main street, to the town hardware store where, according to gossip, Ray Burl had bought a shotgun, and even to a dry cleaner who might be able to answer the question...why was Ray Burl wearing his cashmere suit the day he died?

Finding the true killer is the only way to keep Sammi Jo out of jail, but the killer has already murdered once and is unlikely to be deterred from a second murder by two elderly women and their younger assistant.

Ed Lynskey delivers a charming second installment in his Isabel and Alma Trumbo Mystery series. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy these opinionated senior citizens who may be slowing down but who are still plenty sharp in the mental department. Quiet Anchorage, set in rural Virginia, makes a nice setting, with its colorful characters, Nascar dreams and good-ole-boy sheriff who wants the easy answer before he settles down with a beer.

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Body and Soul

This 1947 film noir/boxing movie stars John Garfield in one of his best roles for my money. He's funny, witty, brooding, and tough. The servioeable plot is similar to many of the boxing movies of the day where Garfield is a champ. He's paid to throw a big fight, and he undergoes a big moral crisis over whether he will or not to take a dive. Good to see William Conrad gets a meaty role as Garfield's shifty manager. I always thought Conrad didn't get enough credit as an actor. Lilli Palmer as Garfield's somewhat naive fiancee does a wonderful job as she slowly realizes what the dirty fighting racket is all about and pressures Garfield to get out before it's too late. Canada Lee is the black boxer Garfield defeats and then befriends to be his trainer. Watch for Roberts, the mobster chieftain who wants to own Garfield's body and his soul, too, if it is possible. rates Body and Soul as an impressive 7.7/10.0, but I go with a 9.0 at least. Recommended for John Garfield and film noir fans.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How I Find My Blogging Ideas for My Cracked Rearview Mirror Weblog

Every once in a while, I like to reassess where I am with my Cracked Rearview Mirror Weblog. One thing I look at is how I generate my blogging ideas. Since I write novels and read books, those are the predominant topics. I also like to free range with my blog posts if just to introduce a little variety and change up things. I scan the current newspaper headlines for triggering my blog ideas although I do that a lot less now. I know one area I haven't blogged much about is my enjoyment of listening to jazz music, so I might keep that little-used topic in my "tickler file." Since I like to watch movies, I have written short reviews on them, both current films and films noir which are my guilty pleasure. I blog on Tuesdays about the Forgotten/Overlooked Films. I may have to cut back on my film reviews and start up my reading novels. We all go through cycles in our different whims and interests. I also keep a few blog posts in reserve, often just with a title that I can expand later into a full-fledged blog post. Of course, when a new book comes out, I blog about it as I get out the word. Thanks for reading my words.

One Writer's Avoiding the Sophomore Jinx

Everytime I write the second book of anything (like, say, in a series), I'm reminded of the sophomore jinx. Baseball players who are a superstitious bunch by nature speak of second-year players who have a bad year and call it their "sophomore jinx." Players will go to all sorts of lengths to break the jinx like changing their baseball bats or drive to the ballpark over a different route. I'm not quite that obsessive, but I do have to wonder if my second title The Cashmere Shroud will measure up to my debut title Quiet Anchorage. I didn't change my laptops or write in a different place like the ballplayers do to avoid the sophomore jinx. The early positive reviews certainly indicate that Cashmere is able to hold its own quite well. The Cashmere Shroud was as much fun to write as Quiet Anchorage. I believe the fun behind each novel's creation translates to the storyline for the reader to enjoy, as well

Sunday, July 28, 2013

#SampleSunday Features The Cashmere Shroud by Ed Lynskey

Hi, Ed Lynskey here. I write a new cozy mystery series featuring a pair of senior sister sleuths, Isabel and Alma Trumbo, who live in Quiet Anchorage, Virginia. The opening paragraphs to Chapter 3 set the small town locale and describe the main characters in The Cashmere Shroud which is #2 in the series.                               
                                                              Chapter 3

To say little happened in the single traffic light hamlet of Quiet Anchorage would be a gross inaccuracy. It had surrendered the “quiet” component to its double-word name. Within the past year, a brace of murders—Jake Robbins and now Ray Burl Garner—had rocked the township, and murder wasn’t supposed to upset such rural pockets of tranquility. Long ago, Isabel and Alma had left Quiet Anchorage, but only because not everybody living there could find a good job at the bank, post office, or public schools. Isabel debated if their return after their retirements had been a mistake. They’d sought a lazier, slower lifestyle after their long decades toiling in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Quiet Anchorage was once a vital depot with a 50,000-gallon water tank to replenish the thirsty steam engines. The Coronet River meandered by Quiet Anchorage’s southern flank. The summer-long drought had depleted the river’s flow to the point where it trickled over the exposed red sandbars, black volcanic rocks, and deadfall trees.

The young folks picnicked and skinny dipped, if the mercury climbed into the three-figure digits as it had on more than one August afternoon. Canoeists and kayakers liked to traverse the Coronet River designated as one of Virginia’s scenic byways. However due to the drought making the water shallow, the sportsmen floating in their personal crafts dragged river bottom, so they had to substitute other leisure pursuits.

A historic steel truss railroad bridge erected during the first decade of the twentieth century spanned the Coronet River. Last year, the town council had voted to hire a local contractor (i.e., the mayor’s nephew) to repaint the bridge a silverish gray shade. Its industrial look pleased Alma while Isabel judged it as just shy of abominable. The sandy banks under the bridge offered a clean, shady spot where Sammi Jo liked to retreat, chill out while sitting on the driftwood log big as a sofa, and do her deepest thinking.

Toward sevenish o’clock, she relaxed on the log, dabbling her toes in the refreshing pool of water. As a rule of thumb, she preferred solitude when she was mulling over issues. For this visit, however, she had company. She didn’t mind it. Isabel perched on a nearby flat rock a couple steps behind Sammi Jo while Alma remained standing between the other two ladies.

End of #SampleSunday for [book:The Cashmere Shroud|18101016] by Ed Lynskey, Book #2 in the Isabel and Alma Trumbo Cozy Mystery Series.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ed Lynskey's Books Newsletter Announcement

I put out my newsletter this April on my 14 books with more fiction titles in the pipeline. It's getting a little insane for me trying to keep up with them all. I'm writing a cozy mystery series along with an on-going hardboiled private eye series. I'm also writing stand alone crime novels, not to forget mentioning my short story collections. I've also been publishing my backlist as I can get my rights back. 

I plan to offer my valued newsletter subscribers links to my latest short stories published online to read for free. Sometimes I'll ask for your opinion on which protagonist name of several I should pick to use in my work-in-progress.

My next books newsletter will be sent out this September. If you'd like to receive my books newsletter to see what kind of writer stuff I'm up to, just send me your email address, and I'll happily add you to the lost. I've posted this blog announcement once previously and will again a couple of times throughout the summer.

You can contact me offline at:

Thanks and happy reading,
Ed Lynskey
Author of Ask The Dice, Pelham Fell Here, and Blood Diamonds

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Senior Sleuths Never Leave Home Without Their Dog

The pet food company Purina sponsors a pet adoption program for elgible citizens who are older than 55 years. The deal is Purina will cover the adoption expenses of the pet gotten from a participating animal shelter. You can check their website for the details. I've known older folks who have used the pet adoption program to good affect.

The friendly beagle brought into the lady's home perked her right up, and made her a happier person. I remembered the beagle when I started out writing my cozy mystery series, and the positive impact he had on his new mistress. I debated over whether to include a pet in the series, wondering if it would come off as seeming like a gimmick.

In the end, I  decided to go ahead and give Isabel and Alma a part beagle and part terrier mutt that Isabel names Petey Samson. Of course, he is a rascal and a spoiled one at that. He introduces humorous situations, and he's been a lot of fun to work with in writing my books. While my cozy mystery series really isn't a dog-themed one, readers who are dog owners and dog lovers would probably get a kick out of Petey Samson who is a big part of Isabel and Alma's lives and their sleuthing adventures.

You can sample reading Chapter One of The Cashmere Shroud by following this Goodreads link:

The e-book is available now with the paperback version to follow on shortly. Thanks and happy reading!

Repost of My Blog for My Crime Noir's ASK THE DICE Release Day

My following guest blog post first appeared on Ed Gorman's weblog when I released my crime noir ASK THE DICE in 2011.

Ask The DiceAsk The Dice is my new crime noir written in the brisk, lean tradition of the classic Fawcett/Gold Medal PBOs. Ask The Dice is my second stand-alone novel after Lake Charles.

Middle-aged Tommy Mack Zane, an ace hit man for organized crime, is looking forward to retiring from the grisly profession and going to live out his golden years. His crime boss catches wind of Tommy Mack’s plans and seemingly sets him up for the murder of the rebellious crime boss’s niece. No choice, Tommy Mack takes it on the lam and with the aid of a few solid friends battles his vengeful crime boss. And who couldn’t use a few solid friends in a jam like his?

When I decided to use the hit man trope from crime fiction, I wanted to create mine as distinctive but without going over the top with his character. Tommy Mack is a black kid adopted by a white family in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. His early childhood spent in rural Texas figures predominantly in determining his career. A lover of jazz and poetry, he pursues outside interests, and therefore he enjoys a life outside of his job. In other words, he feels ready to something else besides bumping off marked victims for his crime boss who insists, “It’s just business.”

The use of back-story in crime fiction has somewhat fallen out of vogue, but for me it remains essential. Tommy Mack’s past makes him the unsympathetic protagonist he is, but the back-story also fleshes out just why he takes up his assassin trade. By the climax, he unearths a few nasty surprises and deals with them in his way.

Ask The Dice has its own noirish roots. The title is derived from a Marilyn Monroe quote to the director John Huston at the Reno craps table in Spring 1960, during the filming of The Misfits, her final motion picture. She’s a film noir starlet from her incandescent presence in The Asphalt Jungle while Huston’s contributions to the genre are legendary.

Thanks for your interest in Ask The Dice, and to Ed for having me back again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bob Dylan Still Performing at Age 72

This morning I was reading the local newspaper after my first writing session had been completed. One article that caught my eye was the review of the concert Bob Dylan recently gave here. The singer is 72 now, and still performs. He's taken a lot of flak for his mumbled lyrics and haggard appearances. Was he ever known for his clear and powerful singing voice? He's not Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. I first seriously listened to Mr. Dylan's music when his Blood on the Tracks LP was released. I'd heard his songs like "Blowing in the Wind" and "Rolling Stone" on the radio, of course. But Blood on the Tracks got me started on his music. Over the years, I've enjoyed some of his recorded work, the other stuff was more forgettable. I only hope if and when I reach his age of 72, I can still do what I love to do and write a decent novel. Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just How Old Is Too Old to Be a Sleuth?

The correct answer is...well, I don't know if there is a correct answer. My pair of sister sleuths Isabel and Alma Trumbo are septuagenarians, a five-dollar word simply meaning their ages fall somewhere between 70 and 79.

I read not long ago online Jessica Fletcher was in her sixties while Miss Marple was in her eighties. Both of those mature lady sleuths excelled at solving the mysteries they took on. Anne George's Southern Sisters Mary Alice and Patricia Anne who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, were guarded about revealing how old they truly were.

Isabel is the oldest of my sisters, and Alma never lets her forget it. They work at their own methodical pace, and never rush until they are getting near to finding the answer at the story's climax.

Find out the skinny on Isabel and Alma's newest caper by reading Chapter One hosted online at Goodreads by following this link:

If you're not a fan of the short URL, here is the complete link:
The e-book is available now with the paperback version to follow on shortly. Thanks and happy reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Hey, this is my 100th blog post on! What better way to celebrate it than with a James Cagney film?

This first-rate 1950 crime film noir stars James Cagney, Ward Bond, Luther Adler, Barbara Payton, and Helena Carter. William Frawley (later the curmudgeon Fred Mertz on the popular I Love Lucy TV sitcom) plays a windbag prison guard during Cagney's violent prison breakout. The film is based on the novel by Hoarce McCoy of the same title now considered a noir/hardboiled classic. For my money, the super-star Cagney is the film's biggest appeal. He plays the cocky, amoral con Ralph Cotter who is always looking to run a new grift even on rhw crooked police inspectors like the gravel-voiced Ward Bond. Of course, Cagney also manages to get in a sticky romantic place between Barbara Payton and Helena Carter. All of the crime tale is told through court testimony during the trial of the bad guys and gals after their arrest. Interestingly Cagney and his brother William also appearing in the movie produced the film. The viewers at give Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye a solid 7.0/10.0 rating, but I'd go as high as a 8.0, no sweat. It's a cliche to say, but they just don't make them like this anymore.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Things You Can't Buy Now: Transistor Radio

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you can't buy a transistor radio anymore. I haven't done any market research at Radio Shack to confirm it. I do know the older ones sell for a pretty penny on Ebay. Whether nostalgia drives up the price or the transistor radios are now collectors' items, I can't really say. I owned one I listened to at work that finally bit the dust somewhere along about the mid-1980s. The other transistor radios I owned over the years didn't seem to last all that long. Sort of like the Ford Pintos and Escorts which I also owned and drove and cursed when they broke down. But I digress. Portable music made live go better. I used to catch the ballgames on my transistor radio, too. If you still have a transistor radio, I hope you can also listen to it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Current Film Review: Still Mine

We saw this pretty good Canadian romantic comedy/drama released in May 2013. It stars James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold as married octogenarians living in rural New Brunswick. She is slowly losing her memory, and he is concerned, especially after her bad fall down the stairs. They have seven children and grandchildren who try to help, but he's too stubborn and proud. He gets the idea to build them a downscaled smaller house and runs into a big hassle with the local building inspector, a bureaucratic stickler for following the rules. Campbell Scott and Julie Stewart also star. rates it 7.2/10.0 which sounds about right to me. I liked how there was no violence or cursing in telling a dramatic story between an older married couple with a deep compassion for each other. The funny scenes are understated, and that works just fine. A fine film to see on a rainy day.

My Sample Sunday Goes Cozy Mystery

Watch out! They're back...

Sisters Isabel and Alma Trumbo go on their second caper just after the dust has settled from Quiet Anchorage.

Now in The Cashmere Shroud they're off to investigate another murder in their small town, but always doing it their amateurish but still effective way, of course.

You can read the first chapter hosted here at Goodreads by following this link:

The e-book is available now with the paperback version to follow shortly. Thanks and happy reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Applying the Page 99 Test to My First Novel Pelham Fell Here

Marshal Zeringue at his wonderful book blog asked me to apply the Page 99 Test to my debut novel, Pelham Fell Here, and this is what I reported:

He’d overshot the farmhouse driveway. I screeched, waved, and fumbled in my small steps down the driveway. The woods at the landfill from which I was supposed to emerge attracted Chet’s attention. Frantic, I pumped the sawed-off and reeled off three salvos, but hurting too much I couldn’t manage a fourth.

My aggressive stunt did the trick. I saw no K-9 dogs, but Chet’s brake lights flared on. The Barracuda notched a U-turn to fly back and scream up the driveway. I flipped out the Barracuda’s door and eased my bones down into the black velour upholstery. I shut the car door. The wiry, short Chet toed the gas and shot me a glance.

“Does the other dude look as bad?”

I took a moment to quiet my tremors. “I just got my bell rung. Was anybody else on the road?”
“Just some fool in an orange car. Is that a rat? My dad won’t like rat shit soiling these new seat covers.”

“Mr. Bojangles is a ferret.”

“What are you doing with a ferret, Frank?”

“I found him at the farmhouse. He’s the only good thing in there.”

“Okay, but where were you?”

“I was right here. Mr. Van Dotson was supposed to tell you we’d meet at the old landfill.”

“He did. He also said you tore off. What’s up, dawg?”

Page 99 in my first P.I. Frank Johnson mystery title, Pelham Fell Here, finds Frank, a little battered and bruised, having just escaped from a jam. He’s linked up with his trusty, young sidekick, Chet Peyton, and they’re beginning to map out what next moves to take.

This opening scene in Chapter 21 strikes me as a pivotal one where Frank’s quest has been pretty much set. He’s gotten his reinforcements in Chet, and their chase is now joined after the bad guys, a neo-Nazi sect he’s managed to antagonize. It’s a duel to the death.

One further detail arises on page 99. Mr. Bojangles, the ferret Frank has rescued from the neo-Nazis, offers a bit of comedic relief. Well, he’s supposed to lighten up the mood in an otherwise dark chronicle. I went back and forth on whether to include a pet. In the final manuscript’s shakedown, Mr. Bojangles was a keeper. Frank deserved the pet to help keep his sanity and humanity intact.

Frank isn’t yet committed to working as a private detective (this is really the first book in the series). On page 99, he’s taking the steps to investigate the murder of his cousin Cody Chapman if only because Frank is made the prime suspect. He has to prove his innocence before he’s arrested.

Pelham Fell Here has recently released as an e-book for the first time. Click here to go to the Amazon page for Pelham Fell Here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Twitter 2.0 For Dummies

Like me. I exaggerate a bit. Recently, I got my 5,300th follower on Twitter. Cue the trumpets. I "tweeted" 16,500 tweets. Maybe I'm not such a neophyte anymore. But quite frankly, I still feel like I don't have a clue about Twitter. Readers like my tweets by "favoring" them. I've gained some readers of my novels and short story collections on Twitter. I've met some nice folks on Twitter. If that counts for progress and success, I guess I'm there. I still don't tweet about religion and politics just like I wouldn't talk about said taboo topics at the office. I like to tweet about film, actors, jazz, books, and writers. I used to tweet about baseball except a lot of unfollows resulted. When my books are released, I tweet about them. I do the #SampleSunday deal where you provide a link back to an online sample chapter. My number of tweets has fallen off because I'm back to writing and revising (many times) short stories again in addition to writing my novels. Anyway, that's my twitter take at this point in time. Further down the road, I'll do another blog post on my further adventures.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Cashmere Shroud Is Now An E-book

They're back...

Isabel and Alma Trumbo are on their second caper after the dust has settled in Quiet Anchorage. Now in The Cashmere Shroud they're off to investigate another murder but doing it their way, of course.

The e-book is available now with the paperback version to follow, shortly.  

This is the Amazon link:

This is the Barnes & Noble link:

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Affair in Trinidad

This 1952 romance-suspense spy caper is often billed as a film noir, though I only saw glimmers of noir throughout the running. Basically, it's a vehicle for Rita Hayworth's stunning beauty beginning with the opening scene of her dancing barefoot to the calypso music on an upscale nightclub stage. Glenn Ford is the tough ex-B-29 pilot coming to the island in search of a job his dead brother has written to him about in a letter. Juanita Moore as Dominique, Rita's island maid, does a good job serving as her wise counsel. There are some fisticuffs between Ford and the island thugs about one hour in which livens up the action. Rita gets another singing and dancing number although it's not her voice doing the singing. What does it matter? She's a million-dollar knockout. I enjoyed watching Affair in Trinidad. You might, too.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Things You Can't Buy Now: Polaroid Swinger Land Camera

This sweet baby wasn't very good for spies and undercover agents to use but for a young adult, the Polaroid Swinger had to be the neatest, coolest in-thing. Imagine to be able to snap a picture and have it processed and in your hands on the spot. This came well before the digital age. As I recall, the photographer had to smear with a sponge some goopy stuff across the photo after it was fed out of the camera. I don't know what the goopy stuff did, but it smelled strong like airplane glue does. This is the link to the TV ad with its catchy jingle: Click here for Swinger TV commercial. If the Swinger owner had as much fun as the gals and guys in the commercial do, he or she would buy two of them!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Pick for My Best Beach Read Novel

Here we are at mid-July and the temperatures are trending upward. Vacationers have lined up their beachside reads for their fun week. Today while I was shopping in the produce aisle, I was struck by the thought of which novel I've written might be my best vacation read. That's a hard pick to make because most of my published titles fall in the hardboiled/crime noir category. If I had to chose one, I'd probably go with my first P.I. Frank Johnson title, Pelham Fell Here, which kicked off the mystery series. It just came out as an e-book release for the first time. If I wanted to read and enjoy something less intense but no less entertaining, I'd suggest my small town cozy, Quiet Anchorage. It features a pair of sisters, Isabel and Alma Trumbo, who are senior amateur sleuths, both with a blood hound's nose for solving mysteries, especially murders. This title is also the first in a mystery series. So, there you have it: my suggested vacation readings from my book list.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My New Novel Is Halfway Completed Just in Time For Hump Day

Since today is hump day, meaning we're more than halfway through the week, I thought I'd blog about my work-in-progress. Actually, it is more than halfway completed. This first draft is a future title (I'd mention it by title but it has none yet!) in my Isabel and Alma Trumbo Mystery Series. The challenge has been to make this novel different and interesting while not getting away from the original voice. Isabel and Alma, after all, are the two main characters. They have a lot to say about things, so I can't give them short shrift. One reader told me recently they liked Isabel and Alma's young helper, Sammi Jo. She gets a lot more attention in the second title The Cashmere Shroud, so she won't be as much present in this current novel. The Cashmere Shroud will be out later this month. Stay tuned for further details. Until then, happy reading to you and yours.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: The Big Bluff

This so-so 1955 crime flick stars Martha Vickers who is the only name star I recognize from the cast of characters. The lady grifter Fritze is the vivacious Rosemarie Stack, the longtime wife of the late actor Robert Stack and who is apparently still living. W. Lee Wilder the director is the older brother of the famous director Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, The Apartment). The former athlete John Bromfield plays a slick grifter teamed with Rosemarie who set out to fleece a rich New York City socialite out of her millions. The acting is somewhat wooden, the script not the greatest one, and the best thing going for the crime flick is the surprise ending. Sort of a disappointment to me because I've enjoyed Martha Vickers in other movies I've watched like The Burglar with Dan Duryea. If you have an hour to kill, I guess you spend it in worst ways. Maybe I'm being too hard in my comments, but I think a better lead actor could've pulled it off a little more convincing. From the comments I've read, the film has its fans and supporters. It might well appeal to you if you a film noir aficionado or completist. I just expected a little more.

Things You Can't Buy Now: Eight-Track Tape

I haven't seen eight-track tapes or cartridges for sale in a good while. Wikipedia indicates they were popular in the U.S. until the early 1980s. I thought they went the way of the dodo bird earlier than that date. Wishful thinking on my part, I guess. The photo from Wikipedia also shows the innards of an eight-track tape. The magnetic tape was its weak link. It got chewed up in the player, ruining the eight-track for any further plays. I remember seeing the shiny furls of magnetic tape along the shoulders of highways to the eight-tracks that had been pitched out the windows by disgusted motorists. People sometimes bash progress and yearn for the good old days. I was nothing but thrilled when CDs showed up on the music scene and replaced the eight-track tapes. Your mileage may've varied with eight-track tapes, but that was my bad experience with them.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

#SampleSunday: TROGLODYTES, a PI Frank Johnson Mystery by Ed Lynskey

Back in the 1990s, my travels took me to Ankara, Turkey twice on business. One weekend we made a side trip to stay in and tour Cappadocia. It is the site of the underground villages and churches the early Christians used for extended sanctuary against their invading enemies.

I got a sardine feeling while I was squeezing through their narrow underground tunnels and caverns. The vivid impressions stuck with me. So, I used Cappadocia to set my fourth P.I. Frank Johnson mystery Troglodytes there. It is my only novel to date that takes place outside the U.S. borders.

Noted mystery fiction critic Ray Walsh reviewing Troglodytes for the Lansing State Journal said: " Fast-paced...strong characterization...Lynskey has created a gritty, violence-packed tale of murder and mayhem...quite entertaining."    

You can read Chapter 1 of Troglodytes online at this link:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Writing My Novel During the Dog Days of Summer

 Right now one of my ongoing projects is a cozy mystery title in my Isabel and Alma Trumbo Mystery Series. I've set it to take place in the summer because it's the summer right now. It's easy to gaze out the window and picture Isabel and Alma going about their daytime activities. The lazy, hazy summertime is the perfect season of the year to cast such a genre title. I haven't settled on a title yet, so I just call it "my new book" and my inner circle knows what I am talking about. It's been fun going back to writing traditional, play fair with the reader mysteries. My PI Frank Johnson mysteries are that way but with much different cast of characters. That's okay. Frank with his sidekick Gerald Peyton will make his return hopefully by the year's end. But first I have to complete my first draft of this Isabel and Alma title by the summer's end. Once the days get shorter and the weather turns chilly, I'll be in the wrong season to tell the Trumbo sisters' latest tale. Meantime I'll sip my lemonade and keep at the keyboard. Happy reading to you and yours this summer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

After the All Fireworks Have Been Lit

Last night I stayed up later watching the firework extravaganzas mostly on TV. NYC really does up theirs with gorgeous panoramas of the rivers reflecting the colors. It was impossible to sleep anyway with all the pops and bangs going off in the neighborhood. No problem for me. The cause is worth all the celebrations and festivities. It was good to see Neil Diamond at the Nats' ballgame sing his new patriotic song. The old boy has been at it for a long time, and he still rocks on in his way. Hard to believe he wrote songs like "I'm A Believer" and "Sweet Caroline" all those years ago. So, I was back at it this morning chiseling away at my cozy-in-progress. I've passed the halfway mark, so the first draft is coming right along. Then comes the long revision process. I have a short story that's well along in its revision cycle. But that's for another day. The sun is out for the first time in days, and I'm not going to miss enjoying it. You shouldn't either.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Tension

I enjoyed watching this well-plotted 1949 crime noir suspense film stars Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse and Barry Sullivan. TV's "Jake and the Fat Man" and "Cannon" William Conrad also has a bit part as a cop. Richard Basehart is Warren Quimby, a "four-eyed punk" pharmacist whose bored, restless wife Claire (Audrey Totter) messes around on him. Quimby decides to get back at her by taking on a different role as smooth-talking cosmetics salesman "Paul Sothern." He plots the perfect murder to kill Claire's rich, muscle-bound boyfriend. Meantime Warren/Paul meets the lovely Cyd Charisse, and they strike up their own romance. I like Audrey Totter, and she plays her femme fatale role with nasty glee. Barry Sullivan as the lead homicide detective uses pressure tactics known today as police entrapment, a no-no. rates Tension as 7.1/10.0. That fits my liking, too.