Before and After

The good news is, I submitted book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series to my publisher. The bad news is a major revision is in order. On the other hand, the good news is, I have a chance to fix the manuscript and make it much better, but the bad news is, I’ll have no time to read, or blog, or breathe, until it’s done.

Here’s some more good news: I judged five published books in the Daphe this year, and plan to review all of them on this blog after the big revision. And I’ve also read several other books this year, and plan to review them this spring/summer. So after my manuscript for ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is re-submitted, you’ll have the opportunity to read reviews of DEADLY INTERITANCE by Suzanne Rossi, DEEP IN MY HEART by Patricia W. Fischer, STOLEN by Allison Brennan, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB by R. Franklin James, BETRAYED by Donnell Ann Bell.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read some of the past reviews and articles, you’ll find over two hundred options for a short read about books, writing, authors, classes, guest posts, interviews, promotions, and moi. I’ll be back.

SPOTLIGHT and REVIEW: Charlotte LaRue Mysteries by Barbara Colley

Review by Ryer Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

If you love cozies, check out this great series by Barbara Colley.


The first book is MAID FOR MURDER, in which the lovely Charlotte LaRue is introduced. Charlotte lives in and owns a Victorian double, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She runs her own business, providing housecleaning for the upper crust. Or maybe the middle crust, depending on your point of view. This book is all about the murder of one of Barbara’s clients and ends with a…ahm…bang.









Book two of the series is DEATH TIDIES UP, in which Charlotte finds a body in a newly renovated apartment she has been hired to clean. There’s a deep mystery here, with Charlotte’s niece, as well as the tenant in the other half of her double, Detective Louis Thibodeaux–quite a handsome and very friendly single man, constantly hovering over Charlotte.  Another good mystery.









Biography of Barbara Colley

Barbara Colley is an award-winning, best-selling author whose books have been published in over
seventeen foreign languages.
A native of Louisiana, Barbara has lived there all of her life. She was born in the town of Ringgold
and grew up in Minden where she worked on her high school newspaper staff, and later, on the staff of the
Minden Press and Herald. At that time though, she never really dreamed of becoming a writer. In fact,
she attended Louisiana Tech University and Nicholls State University as a music education major. Her
dream then was to become a band director. Instead, she fell in love, married, and moved with her
husband, David, to a small suburb of New Orleans. Over thirty years later, three children, and six precious
grandchildren, Barbara and her husband still live there.
“I truly love living near New Orleans,” Barbara says. “With its Creole French and Spanish
influence, it’s such a unique and interesting city. Strolling through the historical French Quarter or through
the lush Garden District is one of my favorite things to do. The city is well over 200 years old, but each
time that I visit, I find something new and fascinating.”

I hope that everyone who loves cozies will check out this great series, as well as Ms. Colley’s other books. All can be found online, as well as at fine brick-and-mortar stores around the world.

BOOK REVIEW: The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero

Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

A good mystery with a not so perfect hero and not your typical bad guys, The Car Bomb is a great read for the mystery/suspense reader who is looking for characters who are human, and a story that is believable. The good guy is Frank DeFauw is a Detroit native who has made a success of himself and anchors the local news. He’s married, with children, and chasing every female in town.

When a car explodes, killing a mother and two children, Frank is interested in the story. But the more he digs, the more trouble he gets into. With his wife threatening to divorce him, his boss unsure of his mental stability, and the bad guys trying to stop his nosiness, Frank has his hands full.

I found this book well written, with a strong plot, well rounded characters, and a good string of sub-plots to keep everything interesting. I’d recommend it for lovers of mystery and/or suspense, as well as those who just love Detroit.

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Detroit’s top TV anchor Frank DeFauw hunts down the story of a judge who may be corrupt—and is one of his best friends. Booze, drugs, womanizing and a passion for the news are all part of what makes this brilliant, erratic newsman a major player in this deeply troubled city. Finally, Frank decides if digging out the truth about his pal the judge is worth risking his own career, family and life.

“A compelling and wonderfully written piece of urban crime fiction, The Car Bomb is a pleasure from start to finish. With its economical and supple prose, brilliant dialogue, sharply-drawn characters and plot that keeps the pages turning, LoCicero has produced a gripping tale of corruption and redemption in Detroit. A classy and fast-paced read.” –Victoria Best, Tales from the Reading Room

“TV anchor Frank Defauw is a wonderful mixture of cynicism, vanity, self-doubt, weariness and wit. A kind of local princeling, his boozy, womanizing path illuminates everyone he encounters in this tight and vibrant thriller, as well as the dark city in which it is set. With The Car Bomb, a promising trilogy begins.” –Patrick, Amazon Reviewer  

“a brilliantly composed and complex thriller… fast moving and gripping” –Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners


 Author Bio: 

T.V. LoCicero has been writing both fiction and non-fiction across five decades. He’s the author of the true crime books Murder in the Synagogue (Prentice-Hall), on the assassination of Rabbi Morris Adler, and Squelched: The Suppression of Murder in the Synagogue. His novels include The Car Bomb and Admission of Guilt, the first two books in The Detroit im dyin Trilogy, and The Obsession and The Disappearance, the first two in The Truth Beauty Trilogy. Seven of his shorter works are now available as ebooks. These are among the stories and essays he has published in various periodicals, including Commentary, Ms. and The University Review, and in the hard-cover collections Best Magazine Articles, The Norton Reader and The Third Coast.

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For more information, or to read excerpts of his books, you can find Mr. LoCicero at and at, and his books are available at and other online booksellers.  And don’t forget that The Car Bomb is book one of a trilogy, and book two, Admission of Guilt is also available. Look at the great cover below!

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A 12-year-old girl is the desperate focus of three men: John, a dedicated young teacher; Charlie, a small-time private detective; and Steven, a major narcotics importer. Their lives collide when John makes a shocking move to save his students from the city’s drug wars, Steven’s young daughter goes missing, and Charlie—hired to find her—confronts a moral dilemma that will change all their lives.

“If you like Elmore Leonard, you’ll love these books. Fast-paced action with lots of short chapters and sharp, punchy dialogue, and the writing is crisp and contemporary. Tom LoCicero is wonderful at setting up several threads of plot that plait into one another and end up inter-related, and there’s a real pleasure in the moment when they finally combine and the landscape of the book is laid out before the reader.” –Victoria Best, Tales from the Reading Room

“…a surprising and highly suspenseful turnabout…as tightly plotted and action packed as was the first work of the trilogy…LoCicero’s knowledge of his city and the people that live there are remarkable. The dying city in Michigan is alive on the pages of his evolving trilogy.” –Patrick, Amazon Reviewer

“This is a powerful read that handles sensitive and important issues very well without letting down those readers who came for a good crime story. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.” –Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

Seeing Things In A New Light

Okay, this may be a little too much information, but here goes:

I live in a small house. The property is nice, but the house is a hundred years old, and built with rather small rooms and in the old, closed style. We have a formal dining room that is oddly shaped and really too small for a formal gathering. It’s situated between the kitchen and my bedroom. When this house was built, closets weren’t really popular, so my room has none, and so when I bought the house, I bought two beautiful wardrobes and a huge dresser.

I’ve always wanted a walk-in closet. And the kitchen doesn’t have enough cupboard space. So…yes I did. The dining room is now half walk-in closet and half pantry!  Who needs a formal dining room? I mean, really, we haven’t had more than ten guests in the last ten years. And mostly, they were people who love us and understand that I’m a little crazy. If I weren’t, would I try to make a living as an author?

So, some bookshelves for pantry shelves, the wardrobes and dressers behind the pantry shelves to provide a U-shaped dressing area, a voila! A magical walk-in closet, with privacy, and comfort, and plenty of space. And now my bedroom has lots more space.

I wonder, does this kind of vision come from being an author? Or is it just an offshoot of being…well…off. I’d love to hear from others as to this wacky but useful use of space. Do you have a space in your home that is never used? Have you always wanted something in your house that there was no room for? Any opinions out there?

2013 in review

I want all my followers, readers, and friends to know how much you have helped me during the last year. Below is a report of the success of this blog for 2013. And it only happened because of you!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I was pleasantly surprised to be so drawn into this story that I had to stop and remind myself that this was not a first person account of history. Imagine sitting by a stone fireplace with a cup of your favorite drink, listening to the tall, bearded president tell you his life’s story. The characters are plentiful, and individual, and the description is sometimes painted in broad strokes, and at other times, detailed by a fine brush.

I would recommend this book to all those who love historical drama, as well as those who just enjoy a good yarn.

Below you’ll find a summary of I AM ABRAHAM, as well as Mr. Charyn’s bio. There are also all kinds of links for purchasing the book, and reading other reviews, and maybe even an interview or two.

abraham cover

I Am Abraham Book Summary:

Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.

Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.

Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln’s life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady’s dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores.

We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man’s-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war.

Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.


Jerome Charyn’s Bio:

Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,”and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.” Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year.

Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009. In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, “The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong.” Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

The blog tour’s official site is: Go to this link and find links to other reviews, articles, interviews, etc.

Jerome Charyn’s Web Site:

Jerome Charyn’s Facebook:

I Am Abraham Facebook:

Jerome Charyn’s Twitter:

I Am Abraham Twitter:

Jerome Charyn’s Goodreads:

I Am Abraham Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

I Am Abraham blog tour site:

Expected Doings in 2014

The storms of 2014 seem intent on making everyone, even those of us in the Deep South, miserable. It’s cold and dreary. But that hasn’t stopped me from going forward with my plans for further success this year. Book two of The Trey Fontaine Mysteries, ULTIMATE GAME, has gone to the editor and I’ll so be working on the first revision with her.

In the meantime, I’ve set my sights on the creation of one or two literary works, and have been daydreaming about plots and characters, and the wideness of the genre, or non-genre, as it were.

I’ve been plotting and planning my garden–I think you’ll find that all gardeners start dreaming of the next big harvest during the worst of winter weather. First I must inventory the jars of canned goods on the shelf, and determine what I shall attempt to grow this summer, and then comes the fun of seed catalogs, and plans for visiting the local nursery!

In the meantime, I’m on the search for a crit partner who loves literary novels and is willing to brainstorm and share his or her knowledge of promotion and publication. I know. This blog is disjointed and jumping from one subject to the next. But hey, that’s what the new year brings. An anxious knowledge that another year looms ahead, bright with promise and unknown joy.

I hope everyone takes these winter months to think on what the new year might bring. What new things might be experienced. And what you can do to bring a smile to others. I’ll be back with a list of books I plan to read, a couple of reviews of recent reads, some interviews and showcases of authors and their newest releases, a guest post or two, info on great classes and books for writers,  and updates on my hunt for a crit partner, my goal of creating a new pastermiece–I mean masterpiece, and a fun story here and there to make you smile.