Monday, February 28, 2011

Fruit of All Evil by Paige Shelton

 Fruit of All Evil is the second book in the Farmers' Market Mystery Series

"Becca Robbins sells her farm-made jams and preserves at the local farmers' market to make a living. But when a local lovely decides to tie the knot at the same market, someone else decides  to make a killing - and only Becca has the down-home know-how to shut the lid on a canny killer."

When we last visited Bailey's Market, Becca had just finished helping Officer Sam Brion solve a local murder. And If Becca showed us anything in her debut novel, Farm Fresh Murder, its that she has a knack for solving crimes.  The only difference this time around is Officer Brion can actually use her help; whether or not it's intentional.

In Fruit of All Evil by Paige Shelton, Bailey's Market is full of excitement as it prepares for the upcoming marriage of one of its vendors, Linda McMahon, to the charmingly strong, soon-to-be shipped out of the country, Navy SEAL, Drew Forsythe. Becca, chosen as Linda's "number one" girl for the wedding preparation, finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when the groom-to-be's mother, Madeline Forsythe, a very disliked bank owner, is found dead in her home on the night of the wedding rehearsal dinner.

The investigation is only a couple of hours old when we find Becca sneaking through the police station, crawling in and out of windows, walking on ledges, and making her way to the jails cells, only to find her friend Linda waiting for interrogation. A friendly chit chat leaves Becca searching  for more answers. And with the suspect list ranging from family members to upset bank clients that have been receiving fraudulent foreclosure notices, Becca finds herself in one jam after another as she races to find the killer before the wedding has to be permanently postponed.

The second book  in the series gives us another great look inside the characters that reside at Bailey's Farmers Market.  You'll read about Becca's romance with Ian, yet wonder if there shouldn't be something more between her and Officer Sam Brion.  My favorite part of this book is that it took us outside the Farmers Market and into the surrounding areas that make up this wonderful life in the country. There's a Dairy Farm in this book, which means, there are cows! I love cows! And I loved this book  because a little calf helps Becca uncover some of the Forsythe family secrets and possibly assists with solving the crime. 

I love me those cows!  And I love Bailey's Market!

P.S. This book comes complete with recipes...Ian's Lavender Cookies, Mama Maria's Peach Delight, and George's Quiche Jeanine to name just a few. Yummy stuff! 

Fruit of All Evil is scheduled for release on March 1, 2011.

Paige Shelton

I moved around a lot as a kid but went to high school and college in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1988.

After college, I spent many years working in advertising, mostly for the local Salt Lake newspapers. My attempts to become a published writer began in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the first contracts with my agent and Berkley Publishing were signed. My pile of rejections is quite impressive.

Along the way, I got married to a terrific guy and we had a son who is now fifteen and still fun to be around, even though his messy bedroom could inspire a horror novel.

My writing partner is my nine pound dog, Gizmo. She’s adorable.

I read just about anything and everything, and I watch way too much TV. Every year I say I’m not going to be pulled into American Idol, but somehow it just happens.

Some people have asked about my road to becoming a published author. My agent was kind enough to lend me her blog to post the story. You can read about that here.

You can find  more information about Paige Shelton on her website at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Choke On Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith

There was this girl in college that didn't like me very much. It's been too long for me to recall the exact particulars, but she was rude. Obnoxious. She was cold. It was almost like she plotted her nastiness when it came to me. At times I imagined that she would stay up late at night thinking of things she could do just to embarrass me...causing me to cry in public.

So I waited.

Then, one night when I was staying at her apartment I talked my friends into doing a series of practical jokes. We adjusted the tube in the toilet tank so that it would spray on the unsuspecting flusher, tore the labels off her canned goods, shoved flour in her blow dryer so when she dried her dark long locks they'd turn white, and I even went so far as to put oil in her contact solution. 

Just so you know, my guilt got to me and I dumped the contact solution in the garbage and confessed my crime to the "mean girl."  That last stunt landed me in the Dean's Office with orders to never go to her apartment again.  Geesh...It was just a little fun. And it was nothing compared to the girl I read about in Choke On Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith.

Choke On Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith is set in the beautiful city of Minneapolis. I've never been to Minneapolis, but after seeing pictures online I have a strong desire to go there. In Minneapolis you'll find "mean girl" Octavia VanderPlatts. Octavia is the wealthy, intelligent, powerful, fat bitch that has made her money from discrimination lawsuits.  She's a genius that is comfortable with her weight and has no problem setting people up to get what she wants. And setting people us is exactly what she does in this book.

As you might be able to guess, when Octavia offers to help her long time friend, Mick Thooft, with his upcoming divorce her reasons for doing so are personal. Octavia has a bone to pick with Mick's future ex, Frances. Apparently Frances, in her mean days, refused to allow Octavia to attend their wedding for fear that Octavia would eat all the food.  Scarred by the memory, Octavia digs up dirt on Frances which helps to turn what would have been an uncomplicated divorce into something much more...uhhhh, what's the word? Deadly?

As the story unfolds you'll find a complicated mess involving forgery, black mail, swingers clubs, sex tapes, love, reconciliation, murder, and suicide. Oh! You'll also get to read about Octavia being double crossed and humiliated by one of her closest confidants. But don't worry, Octavia isn't one you can knock down very easily. She's gonna get back up, and when she does, she's gonna knock someone else down instead. 

Octavia's ability to always remain standing even when she shouldn't gives me hope that there might be a sequel. It's also one of the reasons why I like the character so much.  In real life I'm nothing like this character, but as I read the book, I couldn't help but want to be her for just a day or two. Maybe even three. I might not care to channel all of her meanness, but I think everyone would like to have some of her confidence now and again. 

So what say ye, Mr. Smith??? Care to give us another Octavia story?

Anthony Neil Smith is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University. He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers in 2002.  Other novels by Dr. Smith include Psychosomatic, The Drummer, Yellow Medicine, and Hogdoggin’.  He has also published over forty short stories.  Dr. Smith is also co-creator and editor of the internet noir zine Plots With Guns. To learn more about Anthony Neil Smith you can give visit him on his website, Herman's Greasy Spoon.

You can purchase Choke On Your Lies for your Kindle for $2.99 here.

You can purchase Choke On Your Lies for your Nook for $2.99 here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oscar Martello and His Novel

It really didn't take long for my husband to realize that I had fallen in love again. It wasn't the buttons. It wasn't the pillow. It wasn't even the music. Music? Yep, I have an Oscar Martello song that I like to listen to on non-stop repeat. I'd tell you what it is, but something tells me Oscar doesn't dance to the beat of Bruno Mars very often, and I'm not sure Mr. Weddle wants his kick-ass character being associated with that kind of music. 
We had gone out for a quick bite to eat. I think it was Cafe Rio...ya, it was Cafe Rio. I remember the employees screaming "double meat" when we walked in. It wasn't directed at us, but it could have easily been perceived that way if you had never been there before.  Anyway, we were at Cafe Rio eating dinner when my  husband looked at me said, "You've got your "o" face on..."
Ya, I'm almost positive I know what most of you are thinking because I was thinking the same thing.
It took me a minute to process my thoughts. Was he thinking what I was thinking? Was he talking about something while I was staring at the wall that I didn't hear? Do I play dumb?
I played dumb.
Me:    "What do you mean by "o" face?"
Him:    "O face?"
Me:     "O for Ogden?"
Him:    "No."
Me:     "Really, I have no clue where you're going with this.
            What is my "o" face?"
Him:    "Duh...Oscar Martello!"
I set out to capture this "o' face of mine in picture format...this was the best I could do. Are you ready? Not the greatest look, but I have to say my eyes are looking pretty cute. I think Oscar should like me based on  this picture alone. I'm a much better woman then that Marcie he shacked up with...much more loyal, too. Seriously, I think I'm good enough for this guy. And this picture...this picture should totally seal the deal.

As you can imagine, my eyes lit up and we both laughed. But it was true...I had been thinking of Oscar when he started with the comments. I was sitting at the table wondering how in the heck am I supposed to do an Oscar Martello Week without embarrassing the heck out of Steve Weddle. I don't really write reviews. I just ramble. I like to ramble. It's what I do best. Especially when it come to the books I like to read.

My rambling is all sincere; comes straight from the heart. I don't worry about embarrassing myself. I'm more concerned with offending others or not giving the proper write up that would convince a person to want to read the stories that I'm rambling about.  What you read on this blog is exactly what you'd get from me if we were talking in person (without all the pictures...which I happen to like).

So here we are on the final day of Oscar Martello Week and I'm nervous. A little depressed. I'm worried I didn't do my job. Were you convinced enough to read? To listen? To fall in love? I'm just gonna assume you were convinced, otherwise you wouldn't be here visiting today.  And what a day this is...

Oscar is getting his very own NOVEL! I found this out by accident when I was doing what I do best (stalking authors online after I read a story that makes me fall in love), when I came across some blog where Mr. Weddle had done an interview.  I didn't read the entire thing, but I did read enough to know that Mr. Weddle was working on an Oscar Martello novel. I couldn't have been more thrilled. Is elated the right word? I was overwhelmed to the point of giddiness? I'd normally use the word, gushing...but I looked the word up in the dictionary (Google search) this week and I'm trying really hard to eliminate the word from my vocabulary.  I was giddy! Totally sounds like a word I'd use. Giddy!

Anyway...OSCAR MARTELLO IS GETTING A NOVEL! To help push the process along and to help convince those publishing people that Oscar getting a novel is like, the smartest thing they could ever do...I made buttons. They read: OSCAR MARTELLO NEEDS A NOVEL!

Well, he does!

And to help us get psyched for all things Oscar Martello related I'm linking you to the very first page of the Oscar Martello novel. The last post linked you to the three short stories that were the arc for the novel. So if you took the time this week to read those, then you are totally prepared for this first page. It's an awesome first page. I happen to like it very, very much.

Read it. Think about it. Then leave a comment on the blog. Heck, why don't you leave a comment for Oscar...or if leaving comments for fictional characters isn't your thing, leave a comment for Mr. Weddle. Or for me. Or just to get a dang button! 

Steve Weddle is an editor, short story writer, and novelist. A former English professor, he holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University and currently works for a newspaper group. His fiction has appeared in numerous literary and crime/noir journals. In 2009, Weddle and six crime fiction writers created DoSomeDamage, where he blogs on Mondays. In 2010, Weddle and John Hornor Jacobs created Needle: A Magazine of Noir, one of the top journals for contemporary crime fiction. He lives with his family in Virginia.

His short fiction has recently appeared at Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, and A Twist of Noir.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Heart Belongs to Oscar Martello

Well, it's Wednesday. A full three days into my love fest for Oscar Martello, and I can honestly say...I'm still in love with the guy. I was starting to get worried. Been a busy week. And it didn't help much that author Dave White released his Jackson Donne Collection, More Sinned Against, on Amazon this week. ($2.99-BUY IT)

Ya, I bought it. Then started to worry. I'm fickle. And it didn't help that they kept talking about this Jackson Donne guy on Twitter and how everyone was going to be "falling in love" with him. 

Geesh! I'm already in love, people. Why tempt me so?

I'm sorry. Where were we?

Oscar...Oscar Martello. The guy that has me dreaming about baseball bats and French Maid outfits...not to mention buttons and pillows. Pillows? Yes, I made a pillow. It's cute, too. It sits on the sofa in the office so I can remind myself of my love for all things Oscar.  Which leads me to today's stories.

Today I will give you links to three stories that will begin the arc for the Oscar Martello novel.

In Church Going, Oscar finds himself the caretaker of his four year old nephew, Zach, after an incident has left his parents unable to care for him.  In short, Oscar heads to church to find some answers. The second story, Uncle Oscar, is the shortest of the three and will introduce Zach's daycare provider. In the short story, Oscar and the Killer Bee's, you'll not only find Oscar driving around Shreveport in search of the people responsible for what happened to Zach's parents, but you'll find him learning how difficult it is to meet the demands of  his "work" within the time frame set by Zach's daycare provider.

Just like Monday, I'm giving away buttons to a select few that leave a comment on the blog. Today's button reads- My Heart Belongs To Oscar Martello.  I'll be back on Friday with not only another button to give away, but the first page to Oscar's novel. I can't wait to get my hands on that book. Enjoy.

Steve Weddle is an editor, short story writer, and novelist. A former English professor, he holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University and currently works for a newspaper group.  His fiction has appeared in numerous literary and crime/noir journals.  In 2009, Weddle and six crime fiction writers created DoSomeDamage, where he blogs on Mondays. In 2010, Weddle and John Hornor Jacobs created Needle: A Magazine of Noir, one of the top journals for contemporary crime fiction. He lives with his family in Virginia.

His short fiction has recently appeared at Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, and A Twist of Noir.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Falling in Love with Oscar Martello...

I know, I know. How can I possibly be confessing my love for Oscar Martello when I've already given my heart away to so many others before him?  That is what you're thinking, right?  I'll be the first to admit that after I finished with the Reacher series I was a little depressed.  Wasn't really quite sure what I was supposed to do with myself. And it was about that same time (October 26, 2010) that cozy  mystery author, Hannah Reed, asked on her Facebook page if any of her readers would be interested in an "older male" protagonist. As you can probably guess, I left a comment: I hit 40 this year and started finding older men attractive...I also felt awkward lusting after a fictional character that was clearly too young for me. I say "Heck YES" to older protagonists!  True story.  I don't even know how many books I had to read before Jack Reacher finally caught up to my age...but the guy will probably still be in his early forties when I hit the dreaded 5-0! Then what am I supposed to do? I'll be right back to where I started. Ya, an older protagonist totally sounds perfect for me. 


Then in walked Oscar Martello.  The guy literally came out of nowhere. Just appeared in this short story collection that I was reading by the Do Some Damage gang. (TERMINAL DAMAGE...ONLY $0.99! You can find it HERE) I knew instantly that I was in love, and that this was for real. 

For real? What does that even mean? Honestly, I have no idea. All I know is that I started talking about this character and even leaving comments about him on blogs. You can read about one comment here on the Mulholland Books website.  Ya, there are more than one of these types of comments floating around out there. Once I remembered the author, Steve Weddle, was following me on Twitter, I stopped retweeting all the tweets that would link people to the websites.  (I gotta have some secrets, right?) I even had a dream about Oscar once. He wasn't actually in the dream, but when you listen to and read the stories about Oscar Martello it'll be so obvious that the dream was about him.  I was a traveling sales representative and I was wandering the streets in a French Maid outfit selling baseball bats, brass knuckles, and ceramic hunting knives.  It was the same night that some dork posted an article about how authors should be branding their books. I guess my thoughts got away from me...just a little.

Anyway, so who is Oscar Martello? According to Steve Weddle's website, Oscar Martello is a man in his 50s, caught between lives. The former bad guy tried to retire. Not to be a good guy. Just to retire. Hasn't really been working out for him. I picture him to be rough around the edges, handsome, and a sharp dresser. He's Tough. He reminds me of all the inmates I worked with when I was employed with the Sheriff's Department. You know, that unspoken rule they all can beat your wife, even kill her, and anyone else,  but if you hurt a're in for a fight.  That's how I see Oscar. His decisions seem quick and they don't come with regrets. At least not when it's "work" related.

Well, I really, really, really love this character, and to prove my undying devotion to Oscar Martello, I'm officially announcing Oscar Martello week on My Friends Call Me Kate.  My goal?  To get all of my readers to fall in love with Oscar, of course!  And to help you with this I'm linking you to the very first short story I ever read about Oscar...Walkaways.

In Walkaways, you'll read about Oscar being used as a pawn to start a war and you'll learn first hand why it never pays to be a step behind the newest love of my life. You'll also read about some guy named, Booger.  I'm also linking a second story titled, Missed Flight. The title pretty much explains the story, but if I'm not mistaken, that unspoken rule I mentioned earlier...well, you'll have a better understanding of it after reading /  listening to this.  Both stories can be found in audio format and are being brought to us by the sultry sounds of author, Daniel B. O'Shea. 

Although I'm not selling any brass knuckles, baseball bats, and ceramic hunting knives- I am giving away some buttons this week. The  button for today reads:  "I Love Oscar Martello" -  An "I Love Oscar Martello" button will be given to a select number of people that leave a comment on the blog. Tell me what you think about the short stories, and if your brave, tell me what you think of the man reading them. I'll be back on Wednesday to link you to three more stories, and of course, I'll be giving away some more buttons. Buttons are cool.  But they will never be as cool as Oscar. 

Oh! I also have 5 boxes of chocolate for the first 5 coworkers to post a comment on my blog and show up at my desk professing their love for Oscar Martello. Listen.  Enjoy.  Fall in love.

This story can be found in the short story collection, Terminal Damage. You can purchase it here.  The book also contains short stories by Dave White, Russel McLean, Joelle Charboneau, and many others.

READ:                 "MISSED FLIGHT"


Steve Weddle is an editor, short story writer, and novelist. A former English professor, he holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University and currently works for a newspaper group.  His fiction has appeared in numerous literary and crime/noir journals. In 2009, Weddle and six crime fiction writers created DoSomeDamage, where he blogs on Mondays.  In 2010, Weddle and John Hornor Jacobs created Needle: A Magazine of Noir, one of the top journals for contemporary crime fiction. He lives with his family in Virginia.

His short fiction has recently appeared at Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, and A Twist of Noir

Dan O'Shea is a thriller writer represented by Stacia Decker at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His fiction has appeared in Crimefactory, and will be in an upcoming issue of Needle: A Magazine of Noir. You can find him online at, or just head out to the Chicago area and pick out a bar. He'll turn up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Coriee Guardians Series by Mari Miniatt

Mari Miniatt is an indie author of the Coiree Guardians vampire series.  The first two books in the installment are "Fledgling" and "Killer" and both can be found on Smashwords. You may remember that I discussed Smashwords in a previous post.  If you are not familiar with Smashwords and would like to know more,  or if you would like to open a free account so you can get access to some great books, you can find the information hereMari Miniatt has graciously submitted an entry for my newest guest post and she talks about her storyline, as well as the source of her inspiration for her stories.

Inspiration can take many forms. You can be inspired by dreams, something might come to you while you are taking a shower, as you are riding on the bus on the way home, while reading, or day dreaming. For me what inspires me for one story is not the same for another.

For the Coiree series: it started with a dream. I know that sounds cliché, but it was a dream. Steopa introduced himself to me. He bowed and said his name. In the dream I knew he was a vampire, although he did nothing to show to me he was. I wrote it down. I don't write my dreams down. But this one stuck with me. I started to explore who he was. It took over ten years to finally figure him and the rest of the characters out.

My Minstrel story had a more mundane beginning. My husband and I had been talking about the world we had created for our role playing sessions years ago. A few days later I was listening to Motorhead and a question popped in my head. Did minstrels have groupies? I sat down and wrote out the first chapter, with the main characters. No planning, they appeared on the paper as I wrote.

The story evolved later. It didn't answer the question, although it was a fun write. According to the bag pipe player from the group Terra Serpentis, John Harford, whom helped me with my research, "Yes, minstrels did have groupies."

The ideas do not have to be grand. Recently, while I was at work, doing a routine task, an image of a cat being held by a young boy popped in my head. The words ghost investigator appeared along the bottom. I have a few different ways to interpret that idea. When one really stands out, I will start to flesh it out on paper.

One way I come up with ideas is with fan fiction. I used to write it, most of it is locked safely away. But what happens is this: I write the story and a character I made up becomes fun to write; or the plot  is really interesting. So interesting, I have to make it my own. So I rip away any signs of the fan fiction and write my own story.

There isn't one way to become inspired. The main thing is to be open to the inspiration as it comes to you. The second thing is to write down a note so you don't forget it. Too many great ideas can be lost that way. A note book is handy or a very nice husband that doesn't mind getting strange texts as you try to explain your latest and greatest idea.

Who knows the next idea that hits you might be the one to make you famous.

Coiree Series

What is the coiree?

It is a cup. Just a gold cup found underneath a nightclub in Deerbow City. So then why do four vampires vow to protect it?

That is what the series Coiree Guardians is about:

The first book, Fledgling,  is about Rebecka "Beka" Saberhagen who first discovers she is living near a vampire, then becomes one. While she learns to adjust to her new life, old grudges, old mysteries, and confused college kids, make her life more interesting.

The four guardians of the coiree meet for the first time in this book, although the they do not know the full potential of the object they vow to protect. They only know they do not want the wrong person to get their hands on it.

The second book, Killer,  is about Vincent. He is feeling a little bored with his undead life. The Rathskeller is fun, but he is missing something. An old friend, Verina, and a new vampire, Nathan, enter his life at the same time. When Nathan crosses the line, Vincent's nights become exciting. There was a time when Vincent was the best killer in Deerbow, but has he lost that touch now?

Another vampire book? WHY!! Because this one is not like the popular stuff out now. These are vampires. They can interact with humans, they can be nice, but they are still predators. They have the old powers, glamor, mental manipulation, turning to mist or shadows, and controlling people with their voice. But vampires are not the only creatures you will meet. Ghouls, werewolves, and berserks are only the first of many that populate the night.

If you would like more information about the Coiree Guardians series and Mari Miniatt check out her website here:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ghost Country by Patrick Lee

I just finished Patrick Lee’s second book, Ghost Country. It’s a sequel to his first novel featuring both Travis Chase and Paige Campbell. As those of you who read my review of Lee’s previous novel, The Breach, I really enjoyed how Lee ended the story and so I had high hopes for Ghost Country. As I read Ghost Country I was pleasantly surprised to note that, although it is a sequel to The Breach, it is not just a re-warmed version of the same story. Lee worked hard to ensure that the new book is fresh, and it is. In Ghost Country, Paige is captured by some nameless bad guys in Washington D.C., but before they can cuff her and carry her away she sends out one last desperate phone call to her assistant, who recruits Travis Chase (who is retired from awesomeness) to rescue her. From there the plot of Ghost Country expands from saving Paige to saving the whole world.

The story gets started because another Breach technology is discovered that allows people to open a window into the future. Paige looked and saw a world where everyone is dead and gone. She goes to ask the president if he knows what is going to happen, he plays dumb, but it turns out he really knows…and the goons (remember, the ones who kidnapped her at the beginning of the book) are his!!! The plot only gets crazier from there and involves crazy megalomaniacs, radio waves that drive people crazy, and crazy plans to wipe out the world as we know it.

The thing I most enjoyed about Ghost Country is its original plot and story line. The Breach and all the little trinkets it throws out add more variety to Lee’s books that one generally sees in the thriller genre. Additionally, Lee’s novels (so far) aren’t about terrorists who want to blow up New York (yawn, yawn), they’re about the destruction of the entire world!!! That’s got to make things a little more interesting. And not only is the whole world at stake, but Lee has an uncanny ability to make it all plausible. There was never really a point in Ghost Country where I was totally incredulous.

Unlike The Breach when the climactic ending caught me breathless and left me wanting more, Ghost Country started the wind-up about halfway through the book, which means that by the time I was finished reading the book I had already moved on mentally. I’m the kind of guy who likes to be kept guessing all the way to the end of the book and Ghost Country didn’t do that for me. Although Lee has definitely honed his writing style in lots of good ways, the decision to spell out the ending way before it happened was a bit disappointing. All in all a good way to spend an afternoon. Again, probably not a great choice if you get queasy around Star Trekkie gadgetry, but otherwise a refreshing break from the average thriller.

To learn more about Patrick Lee and the Travis Chase series check out his website here...   We're giving away a copy of The Breach and Ghost Country to one lucky commenter.  Just leave a comment using the word incredulous and you'll be entered into the drawing.  Winner will be announced Monday.

This review was written by The Senator.