Saturday, April 30, 2016

Crime Poetry: "Facts" by Robert Cooperman

                                                                   5-2 Tour Badge

April is Poetry Month, and to celebrate, every Saturday this month, we will be featuring a poem focused on crime or love of crime fiction from the fabulous crime poetry blog, THE FIVE-TWO, run by Gerald So

Today's poem is called, "Facts," and it was written by Robert Cooperman.


Facts are such painful, inconvenient things
when weighed against what we want to believe;
as if wishing were enough to give us wings

to deny science's theorizing,
when the Bible pronounces, "Adam and Eve."
Facts are such painful, inconvenient things.

Evolution trudges through Time's yawning,
dull compared to the Conjurer's crammed sleeve
of Six Magician Days, that gave us wings

to know the divine wand made everything:
or so creationists would smile and deceive.
Yes, facts are nasty, inconvenient things.

Take climate change, when folks are shivering
on the East Coast in a snowbound deep-freeze:
forget worldwide temperatures have taken wing.

All of science's laws arrive with strings;
it's all shifting, revised hypotheses
to fit the evidence, not the phony thing

of forgetting the facts, for wishful wings.

ROBERT COOPERMAN's fifteenth collection is Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press). His manuscript, Draft Board Blues, is seeking a home. Cooperman is a past winner of the Colorado Book Award for Poetry.

You can follow The Five-Two on Twitter @PoemsonCrime The site also sells their anthologies of crime poetry. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Drinks with Reads: T.R. Ragan's Furious

T.R. Ragan joins us today to match her new book, Furious, with three new drinks for a Mystery Playground drinks record. So many wonderful drinks to choose from. 

Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance.

Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy.

The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious.

A dark drink to go with a dark world. Enjoy!

B-52 Cocktail

.33 oz Kahlua
.33 oz Baileys
.33 oz Grand Marnier

Layer the three spirits in a shot glass in order listed. Enjoy!
The Beast
1 ounce of dark rum
1 ounce of pineapple juice
.33 oz grenadine
Start with grenadine for layering effect. And then stir and enjoy.

Coffee Lovers

Make ice cubes using your favorite coffee
1 ounce Baileys
1 ounce cream or milk

A good way for Faith McMann to relax after a long day of fighting scum of the earth all day!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Edgar Award Winners

Mystery Writers of America announce the winners of the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Awards tonight, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2015. 

Special congratulations to Janet Rudolph for being awarded the Ellery Queen Award and to Sisters in Crime for winning the Raven.

And the winners are...

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House – Dutton)

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (HarperCollin Publishers – William Morrow)

Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully
by Allen Kurzweil (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers-HarperCollins)

“Obits” – Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)

Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)

“Gently with the Women” – George Gently, Teleplay by Peter Flannery (Acorn TV)

“Chung Ling Soo’s Greatest Trick” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Russell W. Johnson (Dell Magazines)

Walter Mosley

Margaret Kinsman, Sisters in Crime

Janet Rudolph, Founder of Mystery Readers International

* * * * * *

Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Here Comes the Bribe

Kerry Hammond is here to tell us about the latest book in a very long running Bed-and-Breakfast mystery series by Mary Daheim.

Here Comes the Bribe is the 30th book in the Bed-and-Breakfast mystery series by Mary Daheim. Just to be clear, I did not add a zero to that, it is really the thirtieth book in the series. The book was published in hardcover on April 5, 2016, by William and Morrow. I have to confess that I haven’t read any of the books in this series, but I have read and enjoyed several books in the author’s Alpine mystery series. When I saw that this was book 30, I just had to read it. For a series to hit #30, it’s just got to be good.

Judith Flynn is the proprietress of Hillside Manor, a Bed-and-Breakfast that has seen its fair share of dead bodies. She runs it with the help of her husband Joe, and with input from her crazy cousin and cohort Renie. Her latest group of guests is in town for a wedding. The bride, groom and their group of strange guests are all staying at the Hillside Manor. The wedding is derailed when one of the guests is found dead in the garden and the police determine it was murder. To add insult to injury, the dead woman’s husband, who also happens to be the father of the bride, is claiming to be Judith’s long lost birth son. Since Judith does not recall having another pregnancy, he’s clearly delusional, but no one is quite sure what his angle is. Judith does a little snooping, accompanied by a little investigation, and attempts to arrive at the truth of both the murder and the fake maternity claim.

The book was a real page-turner. From the very beginning, things seemed off with the B&B guests. Little pieces of information just didn’t add up and I needed to know what they were all up to. The plot was paced well and information was doled out in a timely fashion to not only keep it interesting but to keep it fair and allow the reader a chance at solving the mystery. I’m not saying I actually solved it, of course, but I was at least given the chance.

Full disclosure, I was a little worried that jumping into a series with book 30 would put me slightly behind with the characters. I’m sure that a lot has happened throughout the years, but I have to say that I did not at all feel like I had been left out. The book really stood on its own two feet, the characters were immediately familiar, and I didn’t feel like there were inside jokes to which I was not privy. That is quite a feat for any author to pull off. Well done.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review is fair and independent.

Mystery Playground is on twitter @mysteryplaygrnd or find us on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Q&A With Comic Book Author, Madeleine Holly-Rosing

I had a chance to meet Madeleine Holly-Rosing at Silicon Valley Comic Con and fell in love with the Boston Metaphysical Society comic books. I invited here today to answer questions about how she got started and what's next. 

1. What inspired you to start writing comics? 

I had originally written Boston Metaphysical Society (BMS) as a TV Pilot while I was in the MFA Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. While there, a friend suggested that I adapt it into a comic to help sell it as a TV Pilot. I then took a sequential art class and learned how to write comics, then I adapted the story into a six issue mini-series. I was very fortunate that I had a terrific instructor (Nunzio DeFillipe) and equally amazing classmates who helped make everything better. Now, I love writing comics!

2. How much did you raise in your first Kickstarter campaign and how did you approach it?

My very first Kickstarter failed. We were three issues into the six issue mini-series and our goal was 25K. The plan was to use that money to complete the last three issues and put them together into a nice trade paperback. We made about $7500.00 then canceled that campaign. It was a real education. I had thought that we were ready to launch, but we weren’t and things were changing with Kickstarter as well. About mid-way through 2013, backers were no longer throwing money at projects like they used too. I suspect it was because they had gotten burned on a lot of projects that had never delivered and were being more selective, which makes sense. Backers were also becoming more sophisticated which meant we, as creators, needed to be more mindful on how we presented our projects.

I also realized that we did not have that very important core Kickstarter email list which would fund 25-35% of our goal within the first three days. So after we canceled and got some rest, I put that list together, plus re-strategized the campaign and relaunched three months later. We were fully funded in 48 hours and we eventually raised over 7K. The next two campaigns were also successful and in total we have raised over 22K.

In fact, I saw many wonderful projects struggling like I first did on Kickstarter, so I decided to teach a Kickstarter class for independent creators. I worked with Mike at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and we set up the class which I’ve been teaching for over a year. In the meantime, I wrote a book called, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator, for those who couldn’t make it to the class.

3. What’s your favorite part about writing the comics? Do you do the illustrations as well?

I do not do the illustrations. Emily Hu is my artist and Gloria Caeli is my colorist. I also have a letterer, pre-production guy and a printer. So I manage a team. (They are all awesome, by the way.)

I think what I like about writing comics the most is that it forces me to focus on the bare essence of the story. Every panel, every word has to mean something due to the limited page count. 

For those interested in how Emi and I work together, our normal routine is that I hand her the script and she turns in 1 to 3 pages a week. The artwork has no bearing on the evolution of the story. That was written a while ago. However, I do adjust and rewrite dialogue based on panel space if I need to. I try not to micromanage Emi unless a particular panel has to look a certain way in order for the story to be told correctly. I hired her for her artistic talent so I want her to use it. Every once in a while she will ignore my paneling and do something pretty cool. I love that. Otherwise, she pretty much draws what I write. If there are any changes to be made, I send her notes which she then executes. Emily is a real Pro and I feel fortunate to have found her.

4. What was the inspiration for The Boston Metaphysical Society? 
It’s a combination of my love for The X-Files, history, and science fiction.  I wrote a screenplay called, Stargazer, while at the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. It was about a Scottish-American astronomer named Mina Fleming who lived in the late 1800’s. I did some serious research on that time period and found it fascinating. The script also won the Sloan Fellowship.

5. What can fans expect from you in the future?
I just complied all of the short stories and novellas that are prequels to the comic into an anthology called Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude (A Seven Story Collection). That is available as an eBook or in print which is available at Amazon, Nook and Smashwords. My husband wants me to write the novels, which I will do… eventually. As for the comic, we are organizing the trade paperback and hope to have that available next year sometime. I would also like to do 32 page one-shots, but that depends on the budget.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing (writer/creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic and the anthology, Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude) is a TV, feature film and comic book writer. Winner of the Sloan Fellowship  for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film, she has also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. In addition, Madeleine teaches a Kickstarter class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and has published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

Boston Metaphysical Society is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.
Formerly a nationally ranked epeƩ fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy and historical military fiction. Madeleine lives with her rocket scientist husband, David and two rescue dogs: Ripley and Bishop.

Social Media Links:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Can Castle Exist Without Beckett

Last week ABC announced that the TV show, Castle, starring Nathan Fillion and Stania Katic (or so we thought), will lose both Katic who plays Kate Beckett and Tamala Jones who plays Lanie. The next season will be it's ninth, and for shows to last this long they need to change. And this show has. 

We've lost captains, first when we found out that Captain Roy Mongomery (played by Ruben Santiago) was a dirty cop and sacrificed himself to save Beckett and this season we lost Captain Victoria Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) when Beckett became captain. 

We've seen other changes as Rick opened up his detective office and even got a partner. He and Beckett got married, separated (secretly and not so secretly). Beckett went to the FBI for awhile. Bad people tried to get them and they were saved by Rick's super-spy father and step-mom. 

There was a moment, right after Castle and Beckett got engaged when I thought the show was going in the direction of Hart to Hart (Stephanie Powers and Robert Wagner). That lovey-dovey couple used to travel the world living a glamorous life, solving mysteries and saving each other from harm every single week. It might have worked for Castle and Beckett who fans of the couple call Caskett, which might turn out to be prophetic if they really kill the Kate Beckett character. 

These latest cast changes are gutsy, and Castle fans are in an uproar. 

I can see Lanie leaving. As much as I love her character, when she and Esposito broke up, it limited her story potential because there isn't that much time in a one-hour show. 

But if Beckett dies and Castle, Ryan, and Esposito go after her killer, this becomes a very different show. It would open up the potential stories, but it would also lose its light-heartedness and joy. It becomes dark, and full of regret. Which isn't why I watch Castle

I love Nathan Fillion's character, and Nathan Fillion for that matter, so matter what the writers do, I will watch it anyway. But how do they keep the spirit of the show by ripping its heart in half?

What do you think about Stania Katic leaving Castle

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Crafty Thursdays: Sherlock Glass

We're taking this Thursday off for big things (more to come) but that doesn't mean you have to stop crafting. 

Here's a link to one our most popular Sherlock crafts.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for a fabulous Drinks with Reads post from TR Ragan. 

You can check out our other crafts here

221B Con in Atlanta, Part Three: The Costumes

Kerry's back to show us some of the costumes from the conference she attended.

221B Con is a yearly Sherlock Holmes convention held in Atlanta. It draws hundreds of people from around the country who share the love of all things Sherlock. The people who meet to celebrate Holmes and Watson use their creativity to make elaborate and fun costumes. There are no costume rules and all creations are welcome. There were so many, that it would have been impossible to show them all. Some people dabbled in the dress-up and simply wore tights with bees on them, to show Sherlock’s interest in beekeeping, and others wore the wallpaper print from the BBC show Sherlock on random items from tights to scarves. Below are a few of the costumes I found particularly creative.

There were quite a few people who dressed in period attire from the original Sherlock stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote from 1891 until the early 1920s, so this covers the Edwardian and Victorian Eras. This woman sews her own gowns and presented on a costume panel at the conference, offering tips on dressing the part.

The BBC Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is very popular and a lot of attendees dressed in things that related to the show. This girl was dressed as Molly Hooper, who works at the morgue and has a crush on Sherlock. If you look closely, she has an employee ID card with Molly’s name on it pinned to her lab coat. She also has the wallpaper print on her collar.

You don’t need to dress as a specific person. This girl put together a dress that looked like the door to 221B Baker Street. She even has a door knocker attached below the numbers. I thought this was extremely creative.

The conference celebrated Dr. Who as well as Sherlock Holmes, and there were a lot of fans who dressed up in their favorite Dr. Who costumes. This girl made her outfit, which is a Tardis, complete with lights. Her purse is K-9.