BOOK REVIEW: What’s Your Agatha Christie I.Q.? by Kathleen Kaska

Review by Ryder Islington

This is such a fun book! For those of you who are Agatha Christie fans, you’ll really enjoy the quizzes and puzzles. And for mystery writers it’s a great way to learn the basics of writing mysteries through the master mystery writer, Agatha Christie. Ms. Kaska put in a lot of work to make this book fun, interesting and also a great teaching tool. This is a great book for kids as well as adults and for writers as well as readers.

The quizzes include Titles and Plots, Murders, Motives and Victims, Murder Weapons and Victims, First Lines, Last Words,  and quizzes on specific titles from the prolific writer of the mystery genre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I recommend this book for all lovers of mystery. If you like crossword puzzles, brain exercises, or just the fun of learning facts about one of the foremost authors of the century, pick up a copy of Kathleen Kaska’s What’s Your Agatha Christie I.Q.? 

You can find Kathleen Kaska at where you can read about all of her books, including the newest, The Sherlock Holmes Triviology and Quiz Book.

I Have This Cat…

We have this monster cat named Hannibal. He’s a tuxedo cat, black with a white ring around his neck, a white chest and tummy and white shoes on the front and stockings on the back. His fur is silky, his eyes are golden, with a hint of green. He’s beautiful. On the outside. On the inside, he lives up to his name, Hannibal the cannibal. He bites. He fights. He’s jealous. He’s temperamental, he’s stubborn. And he thinks he belongs to Joe, the English chocolate lab. These two can make my day sometimes. Hannibal winds himself around Joe’s legs. Joe chews at Hannibal’s fleas.

These two have made me consider writing a book from a dog’s POV. Or maybe one with a cat whose thoughts I write out, as he plays the roll of the fly on the wall. Imagine what a cat hears on a daily basis!

I wanted to share this because when I’m having a rough day, Hannibal will come lay on my chest and purr himself to sleep, as if he knows it’s not a day to be messing with me. He did that for me today when my brain was fried and I couldn’t seem to get anything done. It occurred to me that there have been all kinds of studies about how animals help people, relieving stress, bringing comfort. So if you find yourself unable to write, or do anything else, try snuggling up to a cat, or dog, or bunny.

This time of year is especially hard because we lost a child during December and though it’s been a while, we still miss her. Apparently, Hannibal felt my pain today and came to love on me. And he only bit me once!

There is nothing like the unconditional love of a pet. I hope everyone takes time out this month to help out the abandoned pets in this country. Volunteer at a shelter, or bring treats for the animals. Adopt if you can but don’t think you are unable to help if you can’t adopt. The shelters need money, food, treats, help.

Hannibal moved me to just send out a memo to remind everyone that animals are people too.

Upcoming Blog Tour

I’m finally going to take the plunge and actually take a tour of several blogs, promoting my debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery. To that end I’m looking for a few more blogsters who would be willing to host me oh their blogs. I’m looking to fill these dates: Jan 23rd through 25th.

The tour starts January 16th and I’ll be announcing the route soon!

#Ryder’s Journal–Wednesday December 14, 2011

2011 has been a long year. Yes, my book was published, which was wonderful. And yes, it’s getting great reviews. But personally, life has been hard. I was diagnosed with a third invisible disease this year. My husband’s decline has worsened. But my faith has increased and I feel blessed every day to have a home, and family and friends, and to know where my next meal is coming from–things that a lot of Americans don’t have these days.

The plan for 2012 is to finish book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series and get it published while promoting book one. I have been close to bed ridden for a while now, able to get up, but without energy or strength. So my health is going to have to come first. My plan for that is to increase my supplements, eat better, and move a little more. And I’m hoping to finally find a solution to the pain issue.

For now, I still want to add to my journal daily and will try again to do that. Please bear with me as I push forward.

#Ryder’s Journal–Wednesday November 2, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Our job doubles. Now we have to write and we have to promote.

I’m planning a blog tour and looking for authors who write mystery/thriller/suspense/police procedurals and would be willing to interview me on their blog or let me guest blog regarding my book. I’d love to hear from anyone who is interested. Your blog will be posted on every blog where I’m interviewed or where I guest blog, including mine. I’d also consider a review posted on your blog.

#Ryder’s Journal–Tuesday November 1, 2011

It has been an overwhelming week. Four carpenters descended on our house to ‘weatherize’ it. They were here bright and early, at eight-thirty, and stayed until five in the afternoon. The house now looks like we just moved in. There are boxes and crates everywhere, the floor is filthy, and the dishes are stacked halfway up the wall.

I surely couldn’t write with the commotion and yet another four needy men in my house!  I’ve managed a few thousand words in the last couple of weeks, and have noticed that my name, and the name of my book are all over the internet, which is great.

My book will be advertised on for a month as a result of my participation in one of their events. And I came up wi th a possible fourth plot which could mean that my trilogy could truly turn into a series.

Now I’m off to bed with a swollen foot and a tired body and hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll be back to my writing. I hope all you writers out there are pounding away on those keys, and I hope all you readers out there are finding wonderful books that thrill you, make you laugh, or if I wrote it, make you cringe.

#Point of View and The Writer’s View

I’ve been working on a literary romance and it’s driving me crazy. The plan is to write from the points of view of each of the two main characters–hero and heroine in the normal vernacular, though I don’t think these labels fit so well. Both characters are doctors, specialists.

I want to write in first person present for one, and third person past tense for the other. I know this will probably be hard to sell, because it’s not the ‘normal’ way. But I have a very good reason for doing it this way, and I think when I finally get it sold, it will be a big hit. I have a deep belief in this story.

My current publisher doesn’t publish this kind of work, and I have agreed to write book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery  trilogy, so working on this is postponed, though it fills my mind at times.  But I’m wondering how other writers deal with this process of deciding when to fulfill the vision of the story, and when to do what you know editors and agents want.