Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MN Mystery authors Brian Freeman and Julie Kramer

On this week's episode of Realgoodwords, we're talking to two Minnesota mystery/suspense authors.

Brian Freeman is back with us. Brian writes the series of books about Jonathan Stride, a detective in Duluth. In his latest, "In the Dark" Jonathan's past is back. A murder that was committed when Jonathan was young was never solved and a woman who comes to town and is writing about it is determined to get him to look into the case. Reviewers said,

"Edgar-finalist Freeman's fourth thriller to feature Duluth, Minn., police lieutenant Jonathan Stride (after Stalked) may be his most ambitious—and accomplished—work to date.... Powered by darkly poetic atmospherics and deep character development (especially Stride, whose understated intensity, dignity and resilience are emblematic of the Twin Ports area itself), this harrowing and heartrending novel will leave readers guessing until the very last pages." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Brian has also embarked on a new writing journey - writing under a pseudonym (Ally O'Brien) and with a partner (his literary agent from London). His new "chick-lit" mystery series begins with "The Agency". It's the story of a tough, funny, British literary agent with a boss who turns up dead.

With an insider's take on the book biz, and an appealingly foul-mouthed heroine, this debut is fast, funny and a bit nasty not unlike Tess. A naughty, catty good time. --Kirkus

First time mystery writer Julie Kramer is also joining us. Though it is her first novel, the world of uncovering clues and motive and crime is far from new for author Julie Kramer. Julie is a television producer who worked for WCCO's I-team for many years and now works independently for NBC News. In her first novel, her sleuth is television news reporter Riley Spartz. Riley, always looking for ratings, has uncovered some cold cases that she hopes she can link together and solve in times for sweeps month.

"STALKING SUSAN is a fantastic debut. Julie Kramer has crafted a thriller that will get your heart racing."

These three novels I've mentioned run the gamut in terms of mystery - Brian's Jonathan Stride books are gritty - his new alter ego of Ally O'Brien and main character Tess Drake are flippy and fun with an edge - and Julie Kramer's Riley Spartz is smart and intense and working hard to make sure she can stay in the TV game. What kind of mystery appeals to you? What are your favorites? Here's some mystery websites to check out:

Minnesota Crime Wave
Uncle Hugo's Bookstore
Once Upon a Crime Bookstore
Reviewing the Evidence
Detectives Beyond Borders
Notes from the Handbasket

How do you find a new mystery to read?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

dealing with Fear with Guy Finley

This week I featured an interview with Guy Finley on Realgoodwords - he's the author of "The Essential Laws of Fearless Living - Find the Power to Never Feel Powerless Again".

I had a great talk with Guy - he's a personable REAL guy who I immediately felt comfortable with...we talked about how our imaginations - our creations of things that are not real, are what we listen to... not the reality of situations.

Guy writes,
You have an unlimited storehouse of untapped energy lying dormant in your own heart and mind. It is the secret source of all that is wise, loving, timeless, and truly you.

If you didn't catch it, the audio archive will be available soon here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

upcoming books on Realgoodwords

Sandra Harper's new novel "High Tea" is a fun novel - the story of a L.A. establishment called Magpie's Tearoom. They pay strict attention to the tradition of High Tea including perfect, plain scones from Maggie's grandmother's recipe and traditional sandwiches. You can read chapter one here.

"Wintergirls" is the new novel by Laurie Halse Anderson.... Anderson is the bestselling author of the young adult novels "Speak" and "Catalyst" among others..."Wintergirls" explores the obsessive, competitive culture of eating disorders through the eyes of Lia.
Starred review, Booklist, Dec. 15, 2008"...a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception. This is a brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia..." "Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world..."

Our friend Minnesota author Brian Freeman is back with two new mysteries. One continues the story of Duluth's Jonathan Stride... "In the Dark" (or in the U.K. "The Watcher" ) explores the mystery that Jonathan has never really wanted to look back into - the 1977 brutal killing of his girlfriend's sister. Also, Brian is writing a wholy different kind of novel, under another name. This one is called "The Agency"...

And Minnesota writer and judge Mark Munger will be talking with us soon about his biography of his uncle, Willard Munger. It's called "Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story".

State Representative Willard Munger was the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. During his long career, Munger authored every major environmental or conservation law adopted by the state. Now his story, beginning with his birth in a log cabin in Otter Tail County, continuing with his search for work in the shipyards and factories of Duluth, and culminating with his storied legacy as Minnesota's "Mr. Environment" is ready for readers to enjoy.

Julie Kramer's first novel, "Stalking Susan" is a mystery that centers around Minneapolis news reporter who is looking into some cold cases that all involve the death of women named Susan. The author herself is a freelance TV news producer for NBC's Today Show, Nightly News and Dateline. She lives in Minnesota.

Stay tuned for more information! And post your current reading here!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michael Zadoorian's "The Leisure Seeker"

Michael Zadoorian's "The Leisure Seeker" is a road trip novel like no other. The main characters are a couple in their 80's who have cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Sick of doctors, children and the world in general, they decide to jump in the RV and run away to Disneyland.

Elmore Leonard wrote "Zadoorian's pace is deceptive, it's restful. But unexpected scenes jump out at you. Come to the end and you'll say 'Oh my God'"

Michael will be my guest this week on Realgoodwords.

More from my conversation with Adriana Trigiani

Here's a snippet:
"So my grandmother (after her husband's death at age 39 in WW II) became about doing A LOT of things - while she kept the shoeshop going and was being a seamstress and & tailor she also kept books for an ice company.

For all of us in the throws of whole economic downturn - there's a lot of wisdom and lessons in this that none of us can do one thing. We have to do a lot of different jobs to sustain our familes and THAT has always been the waft and the weave and the fabric of where I come from. I always assumed I would work. Always assumed that. Because of my grandmothers."

Adriana's new book is "Very Valentine"

Monday, March 9, 2009

another video from Adriana!

Adriana Trigiani this week on Realgoodwords

One of my favorite authors, Adriana Trigiani, is my guest on Realgoodwords this week. I've been a fan of hers since Big Stone Gap came out. She's a NYT bestselling author so I thought she'd be one of those that I'd never get to talk to on Realgoodwords. Hah, that didn't stop me from trying! I found her website and emailed, thinking if I heard back it definitely wouldn't be from Adriana herself. But it was! So we got the chance to have a conversation about her latest novel.

In that first conversation I learned a couple of things: A) how to pronounce her name and B) her mother's family came from The Iron Range of Minnesota - Chisholm.

Our conversation was great, and I happened to mention to her that my mother also loved her books and had read them all. I wasn't just sucking up by the way this is true (right Mom?).... anyway, she could have said, like some authors have, "that's nice". Instead she said, "give me her address."

I was completely shocked. But not as shocked as my mother was when she was shipped autographed copies of her books! My mom new Adriania had a daughter, and since her last book had a storyline about a hatmaker in it, my mom sent her daughter a Ethel M hatbox full of chocolates as a thank-you gift. End of story?

Nope, Adriana then sends my mom her cookbook and writes in it "try the recipe on page 65 Sheila!"

I was so glad to find out about Adriana's latest, "Very Valentine" and glad to get my copy to read during our recent fundraiser. It was a great stress reliever! Tune in for our conversation this Wednesday from 6-7pm and Sunday morning from 9-10. Until then, watch this fun video about the inspiration for "Very Valentine"!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First EVER, live Realgoodwords event, TONIGHT!

I'm so excited! Tonight is our first ever LIVE Realgoodwords.

What is it?
Why it's the BEAT CAFE! Join Heidi Holtan and The Krebs for a night of poetry and finger snapping music. There will be a beat, candlelight and lots of black. We're celebrating KAXE - Northern Community Radio - a community radio station that brings you locally produced programming and events. Join us at KAXE (260 NE 2nd Street, Grand Rapids) or on the air from 6-7pm, tonight for Steve Downing, Pat Downing and KC Johnson in a KAXE house concert. Free to all KAXE members - enjoy coffee and treats.