Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Dirty Lowdown for …March:Self Abuse

This month, I’d like to talk about self abuse: That’s right, I confess. I’ve taken up self abuse again. Two or three years ago I had vowed to give up this practice. To become more zen-like, to make every experience more meaningful by devoting my pleasure to one love interest at a time. After all, I was older. More mature and this is an activity for the young as they rush for instant fulfillment and try to experience all that life has to offer.

But even in maturity, you can lie there at night, can’t sleep, tossing and turning, your restless and know that only one thing will allow you to relax and get the rest you need. So, you give in to that “old black magic”. You turn on the bed side lamp. You fluff up the pillows, you decide a glass of wine might just be appropriate for an hour or so of pleasure. You toss on your robe, dash down the stairs, then head back to the bed and…you find that, just for tonight, you want something different.

So, you ignore the book (what did you think this was about?) you have been devoted to the last day or so, and just that easy you are reading two books again. At the same time. It doesn’t matter that you feel you are cheating one one of them. Not giving it all the attention it deserves, you’ve just got to have your cake and eat it to.

Cultural detective

My two current love interests are The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore.

Christopher G. Moore is a Canadian writer who once taught law at the University of British Columbia. After his first book His Lordship’s Arsenal was published in New York to a critical acclaim in 1985, Moore became a full-time writer and has so far written 22 novels, a non-fiction and one collection of inter-locked short stories.

Moore has attained somewhat of a cult status among his readers in Asia and Europe and has an increasingly strong following in North America. Moore is probably best known by his cult classics, Land of Smiles Trilogy, his behind-the-smiles study of his adopted country, Thailand, and his highly popular Vincent Calvino Private Eye series. I received this book in the mail just a day or so ago, from PETER ROZOVSKY who keeps a great blog, Detectives Beyond Borders. Peter’s blog is the premier destination for readers interested in books of the “crime fiction” genre beyond the U.S.. It is a great place to get exposed to some great writers that you maybe wouldn’t find if your reading is confined by the borders of America.

The book, which I am just barely into, interested me mainly because I have always been fascinated by other cultures. Maybe it has to do with my interest in history, but from a young age whenever I got to travel, I would immerse myself in the local culture. It started way back in high school when they offered History of Mexico and the American Southwest as a course. Then there was History of Black America. These were other cultures I could immerse myself in and never leave school, and I ate them up. I continued this interest when the military sent me over seas, and as they say the rest is history…..and cultures.

This book addresses some of the details that an author needs to pay attention to if he wants to take his fiction across cultural lines. Mr. Moore sets his Calvino Private Eye series in Thailand and discusses some of the differences that a PI would deal with in, for instance, investigating a crime in Bangkok as opposed to investigating the same crime in New York or Los Angeles. Now, you may be saying, great but I’m never going to write a story set in Thailand. Well, that doesn’t matter because what the book does is teach you to recognize that as you cross cultures, any cultures-whether it be Thailand to Cambodia or Brentwood to South Central, the cultures change. The voices of the characters, the motivation and the methods of your detective. I can’t wait to finish this book so I can write a full review.

My other late-night paramour is Run by Blake Crouch  Run Blake CrouchBlake is the author of DESERT PLACES and LOCKED DOORS. Blake's short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Thriller 2, and other anthologies, including SHIVERS VI from Cemetery Dance. In 2009, he co-wrote "Serial" with J.A. Konrath, which has been downloaded over 350,000 times and topped the Kindle bestseller list for 4 weeks. That story and ABANDON, have also been optioned for film. Blake is often a contributor on J.A. Konrath’s blog A Newbies Guide To Publishing which should be at the top of any aspiring writer/authors list of bookmarks.

With me suddenly bouncing between loves, I have only read the first chapter but I am thoroughly seduced and know I’ll be sneaking away to explore all that this 80,000 novel has to offer. here’s the synopsis:

For fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris, picture this: a landscape of American genocide...
5 D A Y S A G O
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country...
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.
4 D A Y S A G O
The murders increased ten-fold...
3 D A Y S A G O
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace...
2 D A Y S A G O
The killers began to mobilize...
All the power went out...
They're reading the names of those to be kille d on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they've just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don't know why, but you don't have time to think about that any more.
You only have time to....

Now tell me you can resist…go ahead, lie to me.

I am so in love with my two-timing ways, I am seriously considering a Ménage à trois. Especially since Declan Burke at Crime Always Pays informed me this morning I had won the new Nicci French novel.Complicit. Complicit, Nicci FrenchSo, providing it arrives in time, look for a review of what I am sure will be a great read.

Also on this months must read list is Deadly By The Dozen which is a collection of Twelve Short Stories of Murder and Mayhem written by an eclectic group of writers.Deadly By The Dozen Ranging from tough and gritty to light and comic. Contributors to this collection include some of my favorite writers and people; Jude Hardin, Natasha Fondren, and Mark Terry amongst some other great authors. This looks to be one of the best compilations of short stories of the year, so download it NOW!

On The Music front: I discovered an artist I hadn’t been exposed to, Adele. I know, where the hell have I been? But seriously, this is the first time I had heard anything by her, even though she has been Number 1 on the British Charts for awhile. She’s  won two Grammy Awards, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, she can sing a ballad like few out there, she writes her own songs which are wholly original and she can deliver a bluesy number like I haven’t heard in a long time.

And, finally, March is National Women’s History Month 

Although women’s history is intertwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religious, economic, and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history. 

The stories of women’s achievements are integral to the fabric of our history.  Learning about women’s tenacity, courage, and creativity throughout the centuries is a tremendous source of strength.  Until relatively recently, this sphere of women's history was overlooked and undervalued. Women’s achievements were often distorted, disdained, and denied.  But, knowing women’s stories provides essential role models for everyone. And role models are genuinely needed to face the extraordinary changes and unrelenting challenges of the 21st century.

While women’s history is a relatively new field of study, one important scholar is Gerda Lerner. She is credited with teaching the first women’s history course, establishing the first graduate program in women’s history, and publishing numerous books and treatises on women’s history. In recognition of Gerda Lerner’s  pioneering role in establishing the field of women’s history as well as her generous role in mentoring women’s history scholars, the National Women’s History Project is honoring Gerda Lerner by offering her latest bookLiving with History/Making Social Change at a 30% DISCOUNT

And that’s

The Dirty Lowdown for March.

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