“The Survivor of a Slasher Flick in Middle Age” by Peter Swanson

I hope you saw Kathleen Ryan’s poetry post last week, and I’m offering another stop on the crime poetry blog tour: 30 Days of the 5-2.

Please follow the linked title below to listen to the author read his work. I was drawn to this one, because it’s quite nicely done, of course. But also because I’ve seen a bunch of those horror movies, and what happens long afterward is something rarely examined. We never see survivor characters later, unless they’re backstory devices, playing the wizened mentor to the real lead, the new young hero or heroine. But just imagine if Buffy the Vampire Slayer were getting her AARP card–what would she have to say about everything she’d seen and been?


The dusk of ponds, the flesh of summer camps:
Colors from bad dreams. Her friends from then
Are ageless now, forever in their teens.
The killer disappeared with their limp lives:

A poacher with a bag of fallen birds.
She still can feel the whistle of his breath,
The swish of boning knife through gummy air.

But now, grown old and heavy-hipped and gray,
Death comes slower-paced, a tourist bus
That hisses to a halt where vistas are,
And cannot raise the wingbeat of her heart.

Occasionally, the black of dream-plagued nights
Will snag her skin. She’s young again,
And radiant, one step ahead of everyone.

The definition of a spunky survivor, Jamie Lee Curtis, the star of 5 Halloween horror movies, as well as The Fog, Prom Night, and Terror Train

This one survived 8 horror movies.

The Bad Wife by Jacqueline Seewald


It is so nice to have our good friend Jacqueline Seewald visit us once again. You may recall that last year Jacquie stopped by and we had a chat about The Truth Sleuth, the third novel in her Kim Reynolds series.  I am delighted that book number four, The Bad Wife has recently been released so I had a few questions, and gracious as always, Jacquie answered.

T.The Bad Wife is your fourth novel in the Kim Reynolds series. Can you tell us how you developed Kim as a character? What drew you to her? And did you always know she was going to be a series character or at the end of the first of the series (The Inferno Collection) did you decide that you just had to work with Kim again?

J. The Inferno Collection drew a lot of attention and good reviews. This encouraged me to think there might be a readership interested in following Kim into another novel. The Drowning Pool is the second novel to feature Kim as a main character. In it, her relationship with police detective Mike Gardner further develops and deepens. Also, Mike’s new partner, Bert St. Croix, joins the series. They solve another murder case. The mystery takes place in a fictional New Jersey township. Like myself, Kim is an academic librarian who also has a background in teaching English. She has devoted her life to helping other people. But unlike me, Kim is haunted by a dark family past. She has reinvented herself. In the third novel in the series, The Truth Sleuth, the three main characters work together to solve another series of murders that are connected to the local high school. I believe The Bad Wife will be especially satisfying to readers who have followed the previous novels. However, it isn’t required to have read them, because, as is the case with each book, they stand alone as complete mystery novels, entities unto themselves.

T. Kim Reynolds has psychic abilities. Has that always been an interest of yours? How did you research to write an authentically psychic character?

J. A New Jersey woman regularly helped the police with murder investigations. My husband worked with a woman at one time whose daughter had disappeared after an evening visit to a lounge. In fact, a series of women disappeared after visiting the establishment. Apparently, there was a serial killer on the loose.

The woman who worked with my husband described how heartbroken she was. If nothing else, she needed closure. The psychic was able to locate her daughter’s body.

This true story had an impact on me. I personally have no psychic ability but I believe that there are people who do and that the ability can be used to help others.

 T. As someone who writes both short and long fiction, could you tell us something about how you see the differences?

J. In a novel, the writer has the opportunity to develop multiple characters in depth. Plots are also more involved and intricate. It usually takes me several years and a good deal of rewriting to create a novel. Short fiction is more of a tour de force. But it is still quite challenging. As an English major both in college and graduate school and then as a teacher, I studied and taught the novel and short story. I have great respect for each genre.

T. Finally, is there anything else you would like us to know about your writing?

J. First, Terrie, I would very much like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss my work and hopefully reach more readers. My new novel, THE BAD WIFE: A KIM REYNOLDS MYSTERY, continues the story of Kim and Mike’s relationship. Kim and Bert work together, each in her own way, to prove that Mike did not murder his wife. I suppose there is a subtle underlying feminist message. However, this novel is first and foremost meant as entertainment for readers, male and female alike. The book has mystery, a bit of romance and is also a suspense thriller. It is available from Amazon in both print and e-book editions.

It can also be ordered directly from the publisher, Perfect Crime Books.

T. Jacquie, thank you for visiting the Women of Mystery and we wish you every success with The Bad Wife and all your writing endeavors.


Popup books – feeding the kid in us

Mommy? popup with art by Maurice Sendak

MOMMY? by Michael Di Capua Books – Scholastic with art by Maurice Sendak, scenario by Arthur Yorinks, paper engineering by Matthew Reinhart

I didn’t have time, Easter Day, to read to the four visiting little ones, but that’s the good thing about family. With very few exceptions – like when they were tearing around the yard finding Easter eggs or examining the compost heap – at any given moment one kid or another was draped over a grownup’s lap absorbed in “hearing” a book.

It was a beautiful thing. And when it’s not a grand holiday with a lot of cooking and cleanup to interrupt, I do have time to read to them, and I absolutely love the fact there are so many ways to do it.

Popups don’t usually make the list of book publishing media, but I think they qualify as a category. As a couple of dozen paper engineers ply their art around the world, I’m increasingly amazed by what they produce. The Sendak book shown above (I’m pleased to say it’s from my own small collection – these books are pricey!) is one example, but the 2-D image I’ve supplied hardly begins to demonstrate the experience of thumbing through one of these hand-crafted books. But hey, we’ve got video to show us what it’s like.

Whatever you think of Game of Thrones (much to appreciate there, though I don’t count myself a fan) if you haven’t been amazed by popups in the past, here’s a trailer you’ve got to watch for the popup effect. If you enjoy popup books too, I hope you’ll tell me about your favorites.

Easter Sunday

Unknown-2Easter Sunday has changed over the years for me, but some things have stayed the same and that’s being with family and for us christians, going to church. It’s a day that we celebrate life. Whether you are religious or not, Easter symbolizes spring and the rebirth of nature, in particular in the Northeast. This year we had the mother of all winters.


Well hello to spring; the daffodils, and forsythia are in bloom along with the magnolia trees and other brave flora that survived the winter of the long goodbye; we had a sprinkling of snow this morning; April 16th, as I write this.

But, hopefully, that’s it. Now for that Easter chocolate, and a fine dinner with some of our many loved ones.

Dorothy H. Hayes is the author of Murder at the P&Z, which features Carol Rossi, an investigative reporter, who digs DEEP to reach the truth.


The Lascaux Review Poetry Contest

lascaux-newsite5-browndropIn keeping with the theme of poetry a few days ago, I’d like to add another opportunity for poets to have their work recognized.

Stephen Lascaux of the Lascaux Review has just announced that the Inaugural Lascaux Prize in Poetry is now open for submission. Poems may be previously published or unpublished and simultaneous submissions are accepted. The winner will receive a thousand dollars and publication in The Lascaux Review  plus publication in 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology. The entry fee for the poetry contest is $10.  So sharpen your pencils (or boot up your computers) and enter by June 21st. Check out the website for more details or click here to enter

Visit me at www.cathistoler.com. Look for excerpts of my new novels, KEEPING SECRETS and THE HARD WAY, my novella, NICK OF TIME, and my latest news


Forty Year Anniversary of Fear of Flying

UnknownErica Jong discussed many subjects in her October interview on the NPR Colin McEnroe Show, which was aired again yesterday. Her book, Fear of Flying, that sold in the millions, and was published in 1973 ushered in a new wave of feminism.

As a writer, I found Ms. Jong inspiring and she reminded me, once again, of the influence that a book may have on society.

41SKE86KX5L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_I am paraphrasing here, but one of the bottom line issues now is paternity leave, according Ms. Jong. And, also, day-care, pre-school; the education of our children.

Women raise their children for about a third of their lives, Ms. Jong, said, and are best served by developing their careers, and other avenues of interest. It is a known fact that the US, however, falls way behind France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and other countries with regards to paternity leave, daycare, preschool and high education. As a result, US working mothers are often over burdened and their daughters often look at their mothers’ years of struggle with askance vowing not to suffer the same consequences.

Among attitudes that did change over the forty years is that fathers are now allowed to openly express their love for their children, Ms. Jong said, and participate more in the raising of their children.

I couldn’t help but agree. I’ve noticed young fathers discussing cold remedies and such, and participating in activities once reserved for only Mom, such as changing diapers, pushing a baby carriage or playing in the park with the kids.

Paternity leaves, daycare in the work place, more flexible hours, pre-school education, all of these are necessary to help working parents. Mothers need careers for a healthy, and productive life, and often it isn’t a matter of choice given the finances of today, both parents are often forced to work.

Our laws are lagging behind there, and there needs to be more investment in the education of our children, according to Ms. Jong, I couldn’t agree more. What do you think?

1086515_780399842_149212225_qDorothy H. Hayes is the author of Murder at the P&Z, which features Carol Rossi, an investigative reporter, who digs DEEP to reach the truth.


A New/Old Crime Film

When I am still thinking about a movie weeks later, I have stop and ask why. Especially when it is an old movie I always assumed was junk. Especially when it is about the Jewish gangsters of the 20′s and 30′s, which is part of my next book. Especially when it begins on the old Lower East side and Sergio Leone, an Italian and the king of the Spaghetti Western, made it.

How I ran across it in my research is weird enough to be another blog, but today I’m trying to write about the movie itself, Once Upon a Time in America. n334432

Leone intended it to be two full length movies but the studios refused to release it that way and apparently made a complete mess in the process of cutting it down for release. No surprise that it was widely panned and unsuccessful. Later, with the short-term release of an almost complete version, it was hailed as a masterpiece. What I saw seems to be in between: it is obvious some scenes are missing, but it is closer to what Leone intended.

It jumps back and forth in time, telling some of the story in the now of the movie, 1968, when a mysterious man, “Noodles” Aaronson, (Robert DeNiro) returns to his old haunts on the Lower East Side. He seems sad and shabby,but, we soon learn, he is on a mission. Some of it is about the glory years when he was prospering as a bootlegger in a gang with his best friend Max (James Woods) and the old gang. Some of it is about their youth on the streets, how Noodles and Max met and what came from those unbreakable bonds. There is a beautiful girl too, who haunted his adolescent dreams, (Jennifer Connelly in her first role; Elizabeth McGovern in the adult years).

The young actors (Scott Tiler and Rusty Jacobs) are extraordinary and the portraits of them as kids, schemers but still children,and their world, is what is staying with me. The specificity of many moments, the acting, the look of the background, are caught in my imagination.

Then we learn gradually that something happened – the reason Noodles left and maybe the reason he is back – and I kept watching because I wanted to know what it was. I wanted to see the puzzle solved. Bit by bit, very skillfully, the pieces drop into place, with the scenes of them as successful crooks laying the ground work for what happens later.

The final resolution is a bit of a mess, very ambiguous. It might be brilliant or it might be a complete cop-out, where they ran out of ideas. It could even be both.Then again, there could still be a few crucial missing scenes.

Nevertheless, I’m haunted by the overall atmosphere of loneliness, lost youth, lost dreams. I’m glad I watched it and recommend it to anyone with an interest in the period or the subject.

And I expect to keep thinking about it.

30 Days of the 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly

5-2 Tour Badge

April is National Poetry Month, and Women of Mystery are joining the celebration by participating in the “30 Days of the 5-2″ blog tour. Each Monday of the year, the 5-2 posts an original poem in text and audio/video. The diligent editor of the 5-2 is poet, reviewer, and moderator Gerald So.

On April 24, my blog-mate, Clare Toohey, will join the tour and discuss one of her favorite poems from “The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly.” (BTW, Clare is one of the many talented “Voices of the 5-2.” Listen to her recent reading of “The New Ireland” by Seamus Scanlon.)


One of my favorite features of the 5-2 is the intriguing “signed confession” by the poet; it reveals the inspiration behind his/her poem.

Here’s the ‘confession’ by Stevie Cenko, the poet of “Why?” which debuted on The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly on November 25, 2013:

Stevie confesses: “When Crime Equals Horror – Occasionally, we read of a crime committed that is pure, evil horror. When I first learned of the horror Mr. Anthony Blakely suffered, I could only conclude Foster Rayfield Leon was sentenced to two life terms with one sentence for each eye.”

Her poem and her confession struck a chord with me.

As a retired 21-year veteran police officer, I know too well how some tragedies tend to haunt. Many of my stories have been influenced by a crime or a tragedy that has refused to let go.

Here’s the haunting poem, “Why?” by Stevie Cenko:


Star light, star bright, the last star I will see
tonight. Jacksonville will still always be
my home. I was the DJ at the Starlite Café.
I played rock, reggae and requests. I looked at
everyone. I loved to get them dancing and see
them hugging. I made friends with Leon,
a popular guy. One night, outside, he argued
with me, said I looked at his girlfriend, wouldn’t
play her request: a contradiction to me. He beat
me that night. I crawled a few blocks away
and passed out. When I woke up, my eyeballs
were sitting on my cheeks, my right ear sliced off.
A good Samaritan found me and phoned 911.
Leon received two life sentences:
one for each eye sliced out.


If you are interested in submitting a poem to the 5-2, check out the guidelines

You can follow the 5-2 on Twitter @PoemsOnCrime. One of the hashtags in use is #30OfThe52


All April revenue from 5-2 and Lineup books and merchandise is donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

Out Today: The Hard Way by Cathi Stoler

StolerIt’s new-release day! The Hard Way by Cathi Stoler marks the return of her great characters, Helen McCorkendale and Laurel Imperiole. Not only are they two strong, interesting women, they get involved in some very interesting situations. This time, it includes glitz and glamor from New York City to Las Vegas.

Helen and Mike Imperiole take a trip in Jimmy Scanlan’s private jet to see the opening of January, the newest and most sumptuous resort and casino in Las Vegas. The two have been together for a while, and Helen’s having thoughts about what will happen if their relationship moves to the next level. Once they’ve celebrated the grand opening and been awed by the famous people and lavishness of January, they’re headed back to New York City.

Helen is so impressed with the casino and so happy for the success of her long-time friend,Jimmy, she convinces Laurel to pitch the idea of doing a contest with Woman Now, the magazine where she’s senior editor, and the casino. Helen hopes to help Jimmy garner some positive publicity on the East Coast. Convincing the editor it’s a good idea turns out to be easier than convincing the winner, Dawn Chapman, to go to Las Vegas and enjoy herself! When Dawn ends up the victim of a vicious murder, Helen returns to Vegas to help Jimmy with the ensuing mystery and bad publicity. And what does her untimely death have to do with the big wigs of the diamond industry who are in town?

Gotta read it to find out!

Cathi does a skillful job of weaving an intricate mystery amid the slot machines and poker tables of Sin City. Helen is a great private investigator, and she doesn’t avoid dangerous situations or people. Keeping the connection between New York City and Las Vegas made the book more interesting and exciting.

I love a good mystery, and Cathi surprised me with whodunit! For me, it was completely unexpected when the bad person was revealed.

If you’re looking for a real page-turner, this is one to read! It’s out today so get your copy now! The Hard Way by Cathi Stoler is a mystery that will keep you guessing to the end!



The Interloper by Dave Zeltserman winners

And the winners are: Cori Lynn Arnold and stephendrogers. I have email addys for you both, so if you haven’t received an email from me, please comment below and I’ll try again.

Congratulations! Dave says that The Interloper is super hard-boiled so rather than wish you happy reading, I wish you exciting reading.