Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Review of Shadows of Anarchy

Copies of India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy have gone out to reviewers and I'll be waiting anxiously to see how it's received.  Luckily, Bev at My Reader's Block has relieved some of my anxiety with a favorable (and very kind) review.  Thanks, Bev.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Love Romances and More Review

I had a nice weekend, catching up on some reading and thinking about the next India eSpecial, which is due to the publisher at the end of May and will be published before the release of the fourth book in the series.  In the meantime, you can read a review here of the first eSpecial, India Black and the Rajah's Ruby.  Thanks for such a lovely write-up, Dawn.

Friday, January 25, 2013

India visits the U.K., Despite the Weather

Here's a review of India Black and the Rajah's Ruby, all the way from snowy England and the blog of my near namesake, Carol K.  Actually, I'm a little envious of all that snow.  It's supposed to be 68 degrees here on Tuesday.  January:  you're doing it wrong.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rajah's Ruby Giveaway

If you'd like a chance to receive a digital copy of India Black and the Rajah's Ruby, head over to Audra's blog.  She's giving one away to a lucky reader.  And while you're throwing your name in the hat, you can read Audra's very kind review of the prequel to the novels.

Monday, January 21, 2013

No Silent Night

I don't know about you, but Christmas always prompts me to do some very specific reading.  No, I don't re-read A Christmas Carol or The Gift of the Magi.  I read a history book and always about the same subject:  the European theater during WWII.  If the book is about the Battle of the Bulge, which took place around Christmas, 1944, so much the better.  During the holiday season, Hitler made a last, desperate attempt to stop the Allied advance into Germany by launching an attack against the American line.  The weather was brutal, the fighting was hard.  The tiny Belgian village of Bastogne was vital to German success, and the Americans rushed the 101st Airborne Division there just before the Germans encircled the place, trapping the famous "Screaming Eagles" for several days.

You may vaguely remember General Anthony McAuliffe's reply to the German demand to surrender as it's one of the legendary communications of the war.  "Nuts," he said, which I suspect puzzled the Germans who wondered about the sanity of an American commander who would demand snacks at such a time.  The messenger who delivered McAuliffe's reply assisted in the translation by helpfully explaining that "nuts" meant the same as "go to hell."  An even better example of the 101st's fighting spirit is the response of one of the paratroopers when he was told that the Germans had cut off all retreat:  "So they've got us surrounded.  Poor bastards."

This year I read No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle for Bastogne, by Leo Barron and Don Cygan.

It's a battle history and the general reader may find the description of various units and their movements a bit too detailed, but the book superbly recounts the emotions and experiences of the men, both German and American, who fought at Bastogne.

Why do I read this sort of thing around the holidays?  My best friend's dad participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and when the weather turned cold and the Christmas lights went up around our little town, Grant would remember the misery of Christmas, 1944.  It made a deep impression on me and connected me to a place and time and to men I would never meet in such a profound way that I've never lost interest in the topic.  Sadly, Grant has passed on.  I think he'd be surprised at the legacy he left with me.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I've been absent from the blogosphere this week as I caught up with a few chores around the house.  I'm happy to be back, especially since I can post this link to a terrific review of The Rajah's Ruby at Passages to the Past.  The ladies there are sponsoring a giveaway, so head over if you'd like a chance at a free copy of the Especial.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why I Won't Be Seeing The Movie

It was 66 degrees here on Friday and I spent the afternoon on the porch reading One Shot by Lee Child.  This book is the basis for the new movie "Jack Reacher," starring Tom Cruise as Child's 6'4", 250 pound hero.  Fans of the books were livid when the considerably shorter Cruise was cast as Reacher.  I had entertained thoughts about seeing the movie as I'm a fan of Child's series, but then the film got wretched reviews and I remembered that I have never really liked Tom Cruise and it would probably be best if I just read the book and stayed away from the movie.

I don't actually go to many movies featuring Cruise as I have a hard time detecting any acting by him when I do.  I just can't seem to look at him onscreen without thinking to myself, "That's Tom Cruise up there, pretending to be somebody else."  I did see "Valkyrie," on TV, and of course found myself thinking, "That's Tom Cruise up there, with an eyepatch this time, pretending to be somebody else."

One final note about Cruise.  I remember watching an interview with Christian Bale when the movie "American Psycho" came out.  Bale said he'd based his character, a smarmy smirking yuppy serial killer, on Cruise's persona.  I still laugh when I think about that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Last spring I posted a review of Maureen Sarsfield's novel Murder at Shot's Hall, which had been published in England under the title, Green December Grows the Graveyard. I preferred the English title but was puzzled by it.  Was it a line from a poem?  A country saying?  I searched the internet but found nothing.

And then last night I was finishing Barbara Pym's Some Tame Gazelle and ran across the following bit of dialogue among three characters, who were discussing the approach of Christmas:

"Yes, on Tuesday," said the curate.  "I can hardly believe it myself, the weather's so mild."

"They say a green Christmas means a full churchyard," declared Harriet with satisfaction.  "I dare say some old people will be taken."

"Taken?"  The curate looked puzzled.  "Ay, yes, I see.  I suppose we must expect that."

They were silent for a moment, until Belinda, not liking to see his young face clouded over, said, "I really can't think of any old people who are likely to die at the moment."

Mystery solved.  Obviously, a bit of English folklore.  I do like tidying up loose ends.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

An Exceptional Woman

Beate Sirota Gordon has just died.  

She was one of those amazing women who flew under the radar and only in the late years of her life received the accolades she deserved.  What did she do?  As a 22 year old member of MacArthur's staff in post-war Japan, she drafted a provision of the new Japanese constitution enshrining rights for women for the first time.  Read her amazing story here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

So Far, So Good

I'm encouraged by the nice reviews of India Black and the Rajah's Ruby that I've been receiving.  I've written a grand total of four short stories in my life, with The Rajah's Ruby being the fourth.  I wasn't sure how successful I'd be at this sort of writing, so I'm pleased that the response has been positive.  Of course, there's no resting on laurels around here.  I've got to get cracking on the second India short story, which is due to the editor in May.  Do I have a name?  A plot?  The glimmer of an idea?  Nope.  I shall seek inspiration in the refrigerator, just as soon as I finish this post.

In the meantime, my thanks to Carol at Carol's Notebook, who gave the short story a terrific review which you can read here.

My appreciation also goes to Lori at Escape with Dollycas, who posted her favorable impressions here.

And a special thank you to Nancy at Romance Bandits, who added India Black to her list of favorite new books.