Language Exerts Hidden Power

The quote by Rita Mae Brown, “Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides,” is spot on.

When we look upon the moon at night, we seldom think of its influence on the tides. The same can be said of language, oral or written. Words inform, persuade, comfort, warn and entertain. And so much more!

Being a writer, I want to point out that when we read a good book, we may not think of how it’s affecting us. Perhaps after we’ve finished it, the import of the story may crash upon us like a wave. Maybe not even then. Maybe not until days, months, or years later. Or maybe not ever in our conscious mind, but make no mistake, if it’s a well done book, it will have soaked into your subconscious. And perhaps even changed your world view.

A good book engages all the senses. You see the horrific car crash, you taste the maple praline ice cream cone, you hear the din of war, you smell the sour sweat of fear, you feel the hate of prejudice. Writers like Rita Mae Brown have this gift to the nth degree. They deserve to be acknowledged for the gifts they give the world. We are so fortunate to have such word smiths amongst us!

To learn more about Rita Mae Brown, visit http://ritamaebrownbooks.com

Book Review of A Hologram For The King

Book Review of A Hologram For The King

Finally, I checked out an author I’ve heard great things about…Dave Eggers. The reports were not exaggerated. Evidenced in this book, this man knows his stuff!

The main character is Alan Clay, an American businessman sent to Saudi Arabia to close a huge deal for his IT company. It is his last chance to resurrect his failing career and provide the financial assistance his college-age daughter sorely needs.

But he makes one foolish decision after another. Following his struggles was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to take my eyes away from what resembled a modern Shakespearian tragedy, but Eggers pulled me into the story from the very first page. I was hooked.

There were some light moments, like the friendship he formed with his Saudi taxi driver, Yousef. Their dialogue was so honest and entertaining. It was one of the few places in the tale where I laughed out loud. And there were other scenes providing comic relief, but overall, Alan sabotages himself in ever more new and alarming ways.

Even though the main character’s track record indicated otherwise, I kept hoping for a miracle. You must read this book, which gained enough attention from Hollywood, to be made into a movie. I promise you’ll be pulled into the story just as I was.

The writer’s prose is at times concise, almost spare, and at other times more detailed, but always, stunningly eloquent. With A Hologram For The King, Eggers has gifted us with a gut-wrenchingly sad, yet beautiful, story.

 

Another Successful Red Mountain Library Local Authors Book Fair

Another Successful Red Mountain Library Local Authors Book Fair

The Red Mountain branch of the Mesa Public Library once again hosted approximately 40 talented Arizona authors, featuring many genres from mysteries to memoirs at its Annual Local Authors Book Fair. As always, it was so much fun for me to talk with the other authors there, as well as the amazing readers.

Thank you, Stephanie Foster, Events Planner, for all the hard work you did to make the day a smashing success! Having been a volunteer at Red Mountain, it was especially great to catch up with Stephanie and Michele Sheppard. Previously, I helped Michele when she was the Children’s Librarian by assisting with Baby Lap Sit through Toddler Time. Her title has changed and she’s now in charge of the Think Spot. The library offers numerous events. Check them out at http://www.mesalibrary.org

I’m pleased to announce that Janet C. won my drawing for a free signed copy of Clipped! Congratulations, Janet!

 

Red Mountain Library Author Book Fair

To my way of thinking, we need to add another “C” to Arizona’s famous 5 “C’s”, which are cattle, climate, cotton, copper, and citrus. It is:  CREATIVITY! You will see what I mean when you attend the Red Mountain Library Author Book Fair this Saturday, March 3rd. There will be many talented writers showcasing their work and eager to visit with you. I can’t wait to be a part of it. It runs from 1 to 5 p.m. The address is:  635 North Power Road, Mesa AZ, 85205.

You can go to:  http://www.mesalibrary.org to check out the many wonderful and informative events the Mesa Library offers.

Here’s a photo from one of Red Mountain Library’s previous annual book fairs. I hope to see you there!

Be All You Can Be – Consequences Be Damned! – Nelson Mandela

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Nelson Mandela 

As Nelson Mandela says in this quote, we have to be willing to live life on the edge if we want to make a difference in the world. That’s what I’ve tried to portray through Kendra Morgan, the main character, in my murder mystery series. In the first book, Clipped!, after her friend is brutally murdered, Kendra is rebuffed by authority figures when she sees a man with material evidence. So, even though she is young in years, she summons the courage to pursue the killer herself. In the end, she realizes she made the right decision, even though she nearly lost her life in the process. Her efforts got the maniac off the streets and her small Nebraska town is safe once again.

In the sequel, Cornered!, Kendra is once again drawn into a murder investigation because she feels her boyfriend, Johnny, is in danger. She is already aware of the horrible ways people think of to maim and kill, and she can’t bear the thought of something happening to him. In this story she not only discovers new investigative techniques, but unfortunately, she also finds out how bigotry can tear a community apart.

My next story is a work in process and centers on Kendra leaving the safety of her small town existence to join her aunt, who is a detective in Phoenix, Arizona. The drama ramps up in this book as our female sleuth helps solve two murder cases. The first victim is killed by a misguided sense of love and the other as a result of greed. True, she misleads her aunt at times, and therefore puts herself in danger, but as she learned early on, there are no rewards for those who risk nothing.

I don’t want to encourage my readers to do anything quite a crazy as Kendra. After all, she is a fictional character. But I do want to urge you to follow your dreams, even if it seems extremely dangerous to you! Go for it!

SoWest: Killer Nights Anthology

Hey Readers,

If you enjoy mystery short stories, delve into the anthology by twenty talented Arizona writers, entitled SoWest:  Killer Nights.

Against the backdrop of Arizona’s metropolitan areas, to the Grand Canyon, to the breathtaking beauty of the deserts, you will be mesmerized by the many ways people are driven to torture and murder their perceived enemies. The story lines and characters are so real, you’ll find yourself looking over your shoulder.

We are so fortunate to have so many talented mystery writers in our midst!

 

Reading Is One of Life’s Greatest Pleasures

Hello Readers,

I hope you all have your Christmas preparations under control so you can enjoy stress-free holidays.

Now that the weather is chilly, yes even in Arizona, we look to indoor activities. One of the best is of course, reading.

The message on the kitty photo says it beautifully. The print’s a bit small. It reads:

“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”

Mary Wortley Montagu

 

Wishing You All Happy Holidays!

One of my precious daughters sent me this Christmas tree. So much easier than decorating a real tree. And isn’t it beautiful?

I keep Christmas simple at my house. It’s easier on the blood pressure that way, not to mention the pocket book. I do send cards, but this year I’m not doing any baking. And since I won’t be entertaining much, I plan to go minimalistic on the decorations.

My hope is that you will all have a joyous holiday season, as well as a happy and healthy 2018!

Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

I’m sure you’re all busy grappling with your list of things-to-do for the upcoming holidays. But if you need a rest from all that entails, please tell me who your favorite writers are, and why. I say writers in the plural because it’s usually hard to choose just one. But if that’s you, please give us your pick.

A few who come to my mind now are:

Jan Burke and Janey Mack          They write spell binding mysteries. Besides fashioning terrific plot lines, they incorporate humor. Sometimes, reading about murders, even if they’re fictional, can be a bit of a downer. Their humor takes the edge off.

Kent Haruf                                   Mr. Haruf’s novel, Plainsong, is one of my all time favorite novels. His special gift lies in the most realistic dialogue I’ve ever read.

James Baldwin                             One of our most cherished literary geniuses! He was a gay, black, unattractive man, who refused to let his creative talents be squelched by the judgmental culture of the 1950’s. He transformed the hate he experienced during that time into love. No one ever wrote with more raw emotion.

Sue Monk Kidd                            Ms. Kidd writes powerhouse novels. As far as I know, she’s published only three stories. They are stupendous! Unlike many writers who turn out numerous cookie cutter books using the same tired formulas, she carefully researches and crafts her novels. The result is something so original it boggles the mind.

Pete Dexter                                  Like Ms. Kidd, Pete Dexter is another original author, who chooses different topics each time. And each book is a blockbuster! I recently watched a Netflix movie, The Paperboy, adapted from his book by the same name. I noticed it featured an all-star cast, including Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey, among others. They recognized a riveting screenplay when they read it.

Interview on the Writing Life with Edgar Rider

Hello Readers and Writers,

Those of you interested in writing may want to check out the interview I did with Edgar Rider. I learned so much in the process of getting my first two young adult books in the Kendra Morgan series published. Now that I’m into the third story, things are going much more smoothly.

Some of the things Edgar and I talked about were:

  1. The struggles inherent in writing.
  2. What were the roadblocks in getting that first book out.
  3. What I have learned on my writing journey.

For instance, under the category of challenges to writing, I talked about how difficult it was when working full time to devote time to my novel. And what I did in the meantime. I told Edgar that I wrote short stories and articles, and even poems. Most of the poems were probably pretty terrible. Some of these I submitted and when a few were published, it gave me the confidence to keep going. Those successes helped to cement the belief that I really was a writer. At some point in time, I switched from saying I wanted to be a writer, to telling people I was a writer. A huge difference in my mindset.

You can access the entire interview at: http://www.edgarrider.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/out-of-the-corner-with-author-patriciacurren/

As always, I welcome any questions or comments you have.

Review of The Invention of Wings Novel by Sue Monk Kidd

A Marvelous Historical Novel

I mostly read and write mysteries, and while this book isn’t a mystery in the truest sense of the word, it did keep me wondering how the two marvelous main characters in the book would prevail through times harrowing beyond belief.

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd’s third novel, is the story of Sarah Grimke and her slave, Hetty Handful Grimke, set in the South in the early nineteenth century. Sarah Grimke was an actual person, who not only made great strides in abolishing slavery, but also in the advancement of women’s rights. Of course, since she lived so many years ago, Ms. Kidd had to fill in the character of her novel the best she could, but she did include as many true facts as she could. The character of the slave girl, Hetty, is strictly fictional and absolutely fascinating.

The story begins with Hetty being gifted to Sarah on Sarah’s 11th birthday and details how mortified she is. She begs her cold-hearted mother not to do it, but is instantly rebuffed. And so, that very night, Hetty begins sleeping on the floor outside of Sarah’s bedroom. One of the many degrading things forced on slaves during that time in history. The narrative follows their lives over the next 35 years where their relationship becomes hopelessly intertwined. The powerful emotions of guilt, defiance, estrangement and yes, love, sweep the two women along, and cause the reader to hope for the very best outcome for them both. A fantastic read!! Visit http://www.suemonkkidd.com for more information about this gifted writer.