Monday, November 23, 2015

The #TwisterBlogHop Schedule

Totally excited to see what my fellow author-bloggers have in store for Twister Blog Hop! Here's who you can expect, when and where (don't worry, I'll remind you):

Kerrie Olzak: 11/30
Jami Deise: 12/1
Me: 12/2

Knowing this crowd, it's going probably going to be nuts, but...this nuts?
Old Boy (2003) Even if you see *the* twist coming, the rest of it will still make your head spin

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Death Before Decaf: A Java Jive Mystery by Caroline Fardig (New Release)

Oh my god- Caroline Fardig's latest is finally out! (Can you tell I've been waiting very impatiently?) Read the description below, then go snap this baby up!)

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancĂ© robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved cafĂ© down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.
The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

Buy the book...

Connect with Caroline

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The #Twister Blog Hop is coming for you!

I feel like 2013 and 2014 were good years for my crazy, goofy blog hops...and I feel like I've neglected everyone in the last few months. 

This ends now.

At the end of November, a couple of other author-bloggers are going to help me suss out the works of art (books, television, movies, you name it) that featured the best, twistiest storylines. Will we feature an Agatha Christie classic? Will we touch on one of the trashiest movies made in the 90s? Will I tell you about a superbly twisted Spanish mystery trilogy you need to be reading? You'll just have to tune in to find out.

Gene Tierney and Vincent Price in "Laura", one of the cleverest, twistiest movies ever (and no, I'm not referring to Price's turn as a romantic lead)
If you're a blogger and want to play along, send me an email at deb AT deborahnamkrane DOT com and we'll get you squared away. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Coming back...with a giveaway!

I don't like to chat unless I have something to say, you know what I mean? And while I could tell you all sorts of things about my personal journey- oh, just go read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and you'll get the gist- I don't like to waste your time and I know that if you're going to come here, you expect to read about publishing news (mine or otherwise), and I did not have that much to say about it right now.

Although I've had my latest drafted for almost two years (what?!), because this story is more "where I live" than the other things I've written, I knew that I might be too close to the subject matter to be objective and that I was going to need some help. In other words, I've been extra-special worried about getting this right.

Separately, I think it's also fair to say that many people in the indie publishing world have started burning out, and while I'm not one of them, this has indirectly affected me. Even the most dedicated and ambitious person can work multiple jobs and not sleep for so long before something has to give. And when the industry has pretty much promised a protracted downturn, those who could slog away for three or four years before burning out deserve our applause. It's an industry reality I've had to adjust to.

But it's all good...

I'm still here and while I've been biting my nails about the best way to bring this latest story to market, I haven't stopped writing. I'm confident that readers are going to love the additions to the New Pioneers universe- and the stories they have to tell- and I'm even more excited about the next installment (already written). I think readers are also going to be very satisfied with how this series will wrap up (or at least this part of it). Thanks to everyone who has patiently awaited it.

Alrighty then! While I don't have a publication date yet (but it will happen before March, 2016!), I'd like to use this time to invite more people into my characters' little universe so you'll be all caught up when the time comes, and what better way to do that than with a giveaway? That's right- in exchange for signing up for my newsletter, you'll be entered to win not only my books but also some others I've loved in the last few years. And what kind of giveaway would it be without some Amazon gift cards?

You'll have plenty of chances to win a prize, but if you don't, you know I always take care of my newsletter subscribers. So please sign up (and tell your friends).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Interview with @CarolineFardig, author of the upcoming Bad Medicine...and the Java Jive series!

Did I mention that one of the best perks of being in the indie community is having a chance to read some gems before anyone else gets their hands on them? Well, it is, and once again I hounded Caroline Fardig to let me read her latest as soon as she'd spell checked it.

I have good news and bad news: Bad Medicine is just as good as It's Just A Little Crush and That Old Black Magic...but this might be the last we see of Miss Lizzie Hart, at least for a little while. *sniff* But- and this is more good news- we're going to be seeing a lot more from Miss Fardig! Read on to find out what, when and the secret to Caroline's success.

In what way is this story a departure from the other two books in the series?

Aside from the fact that my two favorite characters aren’t speaking to each other at the beginning, it’s not much of a departure. In fact, I think BAD MEDICINE ties both books together and kind of brings the trilogy full circle.

What's up with Lizzie actually using good judgment?!

Weird, right? Lizzie has been punched in the gut enough that things are finally starting to sink in for her. She’s working smarter.

What made you decide to pursue a medical angle in this book?

I’ve always been fascinated (and scared to death) by the way drugs can wreak havoc on our systems. I personally freak out if my body isn’t working the way it should, especially if I’m on a new medicine for some reason. It’s horrifying to think that two seemingly harmless drugs could cause a reaction that could kill you.

Is this really the last we're going to see of Lizzie?

Never say never. I have a new series coming out with Random House, the Java Jive Mysteries, and I’m also working on a very less cozy, much more forensics based novel. I don’t have the time to juggle 3 series at once, so I thought it would be easy to wrap up Lizzie’s story after three books. However, that doesn’t mean she and the gang are gone forever. Besides, Juliet, the main character in the Java Jive series is from Liberty, and Lizzie’s brother Ryan is a recurring character in the series as well.

I did like Ryan! When are we going to meet the rest of the Java Jive crew?

Ryan was fun to write, because he and Lizzie have such a strong brother-sister banter.  You'll meet Juliet and the rest of the Java Jive crew in DEATH BEFORE DECAF.  There's a sneak peek at the end of BAD MEDICINE!

Your career has made a big leap since you published It's Just A Little Crush. What's on your plate now?

I think I was overly wordy in my last answer and answered this question as well. Specifically on my plate is the first revision for the second book in the Java Jive series. And when I say “revision” I mean “rewrite of most of the second half”.

Every month (or is it week?), we see new forecasts of doom (which, we know, is right up your alley!) and/or Get Rich Quick schemes in publishing. What do you see?

As for Get Rich Quick schemes, I call those “one author simply got lucky and thinks he gamed the system”. As for the forecasting of doom, well, it depends on who you are and how you look at it. Are traditional publishers in trouble? Yes and no. Yes, their market share is being chipped away by indies. Yes, people are going to ebooks instead of buying print copies, which forces publishers to use a different marketing strategy. No, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon, because people still generally trust the quality of the works of “traditionally published”
authors over indies. Plus, the Big 5 still have an army of publicists and marketing experts who know how to get books in front of readers.

What do you think has been the secret to your success?

My team of friends and family who have all pitched in to help me! I have 9 editor/beta readers (yourself included!), all of whom have their own unique perspective and skill set. They truly make my books what they are, and I couldn’t do it without them. Other than that, I work A LOT. So much so that I’m always being told by my husband to “take a break”. I’m constantly thinking about writing the next scene, coming up with the next book idea, and trying to get my name out there.

So then would your advice to other authors be to work smarter or to work harder? ;-)

YES.  But seriously, for example, when a certain promo works well for you, use it again.  Or when some kind of advertising doesn't net you any sales, learn from your mistake.  Work anytime you can, because no one is going to do it for you.  You control your destiny, and (barring plain old bad luck) if you put in the time and effort, you'll see a return. 

Indeed! Thanks so much to Caroline for sitting down with me. Bring on the Java Jive!


What do a smokin’ hot detective, an evil chiropractor, and a couple of blind dates from hell have in common?

Lizzie has to wrangle them all in the third book of THE LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series!

Lizzie Hart is overjoyed that six whole months have passed without a single murder in the sleepy town of Liberty. It’s also been six months since Blake Morgan heartlessly dumped her, but she’s determined to get over him. She’s slimmed down, ready to party, and injury-free, except for a little nagging pain in her ankle. She’s also very single, but her friends are doing everything in their power to fix that—including setting her up on one disastrous blind date after another.
Lizzie’s reprieve is short-lived when an old friend of hers is found dead from an apparent drug overdose. She wants to write it off as bad behavior after having seen the guy cheating on his wife with the new chiropractor in town. However, when she sees that same chiropractor playing doctor with another man who ends up dead, she worries there could be murder afoot.
Doing her best to stay on the right side of the law this time, Lizzie decides to go straight to the police with her suspicions. Unfortunately, the only cop available to speak with her is the stern yet hot new detective who has already given her a traffic ticket and a reprimand for public intoxication. Not surprisingly, he brushes her off, leaving her no choice but to begin snooping on her own. Lizzie soon learns she’s going to need help to get to the bottom of this mystery, but her best partner in crime solving, Blake, has turned into her worst enemy.
Can Lizzie and Blake find a way to work together to catch the killer…or will they kill each other first?

CAROLINE FARDIG is the author of the LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series and the forthcoming DEATH BEFORE DECAF, available November 2015 through Random House. Her eclectic working career included occupations of schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thoughts from my Orson Welles festival

I decided recently to retire my first blog, Deb in the City. There were a very few posts I wanted to save, and those went either to Amazon or Tumblr. This is the only one that belongs here. I wrote this almost two years ago, but Orson Welles never goes out of style. 

This summer I embarked on my own mini-Orson Welles film festival, inspired in large part by my love of Citizen Kane and my fascination with the man.

I started with The Lady From Shanghai. It was almost comical to hear Welles sport an Irish accent, but by the end of the film I was half convinced that he really was an Irish immigrant. Welles' directorial style- going all the way back to Kane- was made for film noir.

This was also the first time I'd seen anything with Rita Hayworth, and she was wonderful, of course. A little disconcerting to see her without her trademark red hair, but she played the cool but tormented femme fatale perfectly.

I must confess: I'm still not sure what she saw in him.

I followed with Welles' version of Othello. He, like almost everyone else, missed the mark on Iago and we're left with someone who's inexplicably malevolent and not someone with his own political motivations. But the rest of it is almost perfect. Welles makes it painfully clear how thin Othello's veneer of confidence is, and the opening scenes with the dead bodies of Othello and Desdemona fill the rest of the film with doom.

His treatment of Macbeth suited me far better. His Lady Macbeth was far more desperate and less cold than almost any other work I've seen thus far. Macbeth is a difficult character because he has to become both more ambitious and insane at the same time, and he still has to have enough strength (as it were) to try to fight as a man and not a preordained destiny at the very end. Welles does all of that and convinces me that one person can. Kudos.

The next Welles film I watched was The Third Man. Oh, I love me some sardonic Joseph Cotten! Here the story feels like it's focusing on Holly Martins' (Cotten) reluctance to be decent, especially when that decency will mean betraying a man who has been a good friend to him, the infamous Harry Lime (Welles). But when he sees what Lime has done- given infants faulty batches of meningitis vaccine- Martins is forced into action. We never get to see what the affected children look like, but the look on Cotten's face says it all.

This was a good film, but I didn't feel it was the masterpiece that so many others do.

I was very surprised to see that Welles had made a version of Jane Eyre. This was directed by Robert Stevens, but Welles played Edward Rochester. While the rest of the world falls over Jane Austen, I'm a solid Bronte girl, and for me it begins and ends with Jane Eyre- and Rochester. Welles made Rochester malevolent, manipulative, secretive and, in unguarded moments, tender and lonely. Perfectly understandable why someone as deprived of love like Jane would fall for him, but you still cheered when she walked away. While I was watching this I understood why Bronte injured him so badly before Jane could return to him: she wasn't safe otherwise.

There's a reason we don't usually think of Welles as a romantic lead, but if he's going to be one in anything, it's this.

Jane Eyre.jpeg

If I was disappointed by The Third Man, I was blown away by Touch of Evil. I believe this is considered by some to be one of the better examples of film noir, and I would agree. It balances the scratch into the dark underbelly of life with a pace that's quick but not frenetic. It's a nail biter from the first scene- even though you know Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh are going to make it through to the end of the movie, you still find yourself transfixed to the screen to make sure that they do. The plot is complicated, but there's just one thing you need to know: Heston's Vargas represents the moral compass Welles' Quinlan used to have, and you know on a visceral level that when Quinlan threatens Vargas' wife (Leigh), he's trying to get at that. The final revelation at the end only makes that insight feel worse.

I ended my little festival by watching the updated version of The Magnificent Ambersons. It was too hard to track down the original at my library, and the word "original" and "Magnificent Ambersons" can lead to lengthy discussions which always ends with "I'd give anything to see the uncut version!" As I understand it, the version I saw was as faithful to the original script as they could be.

We all see the world through our own lens, but I doubt I'm the only one who saw the haunted family inhabiting this universe, and it began with the Civil War veteran Major Amberson. I imagined that he came from poor circumstances and the fabulous wealth he achieved wasn't something he was used to. He may have been used to living without, but he didn't know how to teach his children to live frugally with their wealth. His spoiled but kind daughter raised a son who was equally spoiled but not nearly as good-natured, but she had spent too long making him the center of her emotional universe to see it.

The story reminded me a lot of both Washington Square and The Rise of Silas Laphamnouveau riche that doesn't know what to do with its wealth. In the unrequited love between Isabel and Eugene we see, perhaps, a recognition that wealth married to industry is the best way to insure continued success, and the failure of that relationship to flourish is what leads to the final decay of the once "magnificent" Ambersons. Therefore, the ending, in which we presume Isabel's spoiled son George is about to find redemption through Eugene's daughter Lucy, feels false. Whether that's Welles' failure, I can't tell.

That was the end of my stint. I know there's more Welles out there, but I think, for now, I've had enough to satisfy me that he was indeed a consistently brilliant writer, actor and director, even if I don't love every one of his choices.

Who else is just as good?

Deb in the City

Monday, June 1, 2015

Check out my interview on @LornaSuzuki's All Kinds of Writing

I was touched that Lorna Suzuki, author of the Imago Chronicles, offered to interview me after she read an excerpt of The Smartest Girl in the Room. Please check it out. (To no one's surprise, I talk quite a bit about television.)

And while you're doing that, I'm going to continue my editing spree. Win, win!