A Garden of Stories in Star

The Star Branch Library Annex will again “Writers Read” on Tuesday 14 May.

(They’ll take a summer break afterwards and restart in September.)

You may remember us mentioning it last year.

It’s a rare treat wherein authors read live from their works and then answer questions from the audience.

The 14 May event will begin at 6 p.m. No reservation necessary.

You’ll be hearing from these authors:


Garden image from LOC.

Angelina Amalfi is Back!

USA Today bestselling author Joanne Pence again has rights to her much-loved Cook and The Inspector series featuring Angie Amalfi and San Francisco Homicide Inspector Paavo Smith….and she’ll be re-releasing them this year.

First is Death on a Silver Platter which just launched on Amazon. Plans per Joanne’s newsletter (which you should subscribe to) are to release ebook only on Amazon for a period of time and in print on all your favorite book retailers, with ebooks being available more widely later in the year.

Here’s the story on this book:

Angelina Amalfi, a gourmet cook who is also the assistant to a famous chef with his own television show, finds life a tasty treat. But her treat sours when her mentor’s last supper turns deadly and he’s poisoned in his own kitchen. Soon, Angie becomes the target of a ruthless assassin with his own hunger for violence.

San Francisco Homicide Inspector, Paavo Smith, who Angie considers a delectable dish, is given the case. But as the body count rises like dough on a hot day, Angie struggles to avoid becoming the main entrée on the killer’s plate. Angie and Paavo need to act fast. Can the two find some means to serve up justice, or will both end up skewered in this high-stakes culinary clash?

Michael K. Edwards – Spirits of Idaho

He grew up on farmland in the Magic Valley before earning a degree in biology from Idaho State University, and then did research on potato variety development in Aberdeen before moving to a position in factory automation with Lamb-Weston. After moving with his family to Kennewick, Washington in 1992, he returned to Idaho with his wife following his retirement where they’ve lived in Meridian since 2010.

Just Launched

In the enigmatic mountain town of Copper Creek, Rachael Greystone must trust her abilities as a Comanche Spirit Talker to uncover long-buried secrets that will ultimately decide her fate, as well as that of the entire town.

Rachael Greystone has denied having special abilities since childhood, insisting it was all superstition. However, superstition doesn’t explain the woman in a long white dress along a lonely stretch of mountain road – particularly when Rachael stops and finds a necklace by the roadside and the woman vanishes before she can return it. That was before Jason Coleman hires her to restore the historic Coleman Theater as part of his plan to revitalize the gold mining town his great-great-grandfather founded. But there are forces in the valley that resist change…

Available on Amazon.

Meet the Author

The timing is great to meet this author whose website address says it all: spiritsofidaho.com.

Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

I usually write in the morning. I get my best ideas for the next chapter at night before bed.

Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?

I drink lots of coffee.

What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?

I usually work on something else for a while, and then go back when I feel inspired.

Do you plan your book in advance (plotting and outlining) or are you a “discovery writer” (AKA “writing into the dark”)? Or are you somewhere in between?

I usually have a general plan in mind, but it changes over time and re-writes. Once I get a good start, I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of chapters, characters, events and a timeline. One important column is purpose of chapter. Sometimes I realize that I have already fulfilled that purpose in another chapter.

What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?

I recently read Beulah by Christi Nogle.

What book or author do you find yourself recommending and why?

I really don’t have a favorite author. I used to read a lot of Stephen King, but he had a season for his best books.

What’s on your To Be Read pile?
  • Beyond the Veil by Nicky Shearsby
  • Mark of a Demon by Desponia Kemeridou
  • The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick
What advice do you have for readers?

If you start reading a book and give it a good chance, but it hasn’t grabbed your attention, unless it is a textbook, drop it.

What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with? Why?

Shirley Jackson. I read The Haunting when I was in high school and it has haunted me ever since. She could create a mood without jump scares or blood and murder.

Do you have early memories of reading or writing you’d like to share?

I had two high school teachers that encouraged me to go into writing. At that time, I did mostly humor. I actually started college to become a writer, but changed majors.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?

I think, by far, Shirley Jackson. But King’s earlier books (The Shining, IT, The Stand) were also good. For example, IT was more about kids growing up than a monster.

What do you most enjoy about being a writer? What do least enjoy about being a writer?

I most enjoy the writing. It is challenging and creative. The least I enjoy is trying to sell the thing.

What would you tell a new writer?

Keep after it and don’t give up. I was 70 years old when I started the first novel. I really had no intention of selling it, I think I just wanted to see if I could. Finding a publisher was the hardest.

Podcast: Murder in Idaho

It’s called “Ghosts and Garnets” and at last count there were forty-three episodes running mostly around forty minutes.

Who knew there was so much fertile ground for discussing murder in Idaho. But then, on the other hand…

Hat tip to the BSU/NPR newsletter for alerting us to this free podcast.

Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

ETB Crime Fiction WoC Award

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color. This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.

The 2023 Submissions will be open February 1 – March 31. Learn more on the Sisters in Crime website.

Weird Weather? Submissions Open

Smoking Pen Press is pleased to announce a new Call for Submissions for a short story anthology for our Read on the Run series. We’re seeking stories about weather. But we aren’t interested in fair winds or ordinary weather, we are looking for Ill Winds and Wild Weather. All genres are considered.

  • Submissions accepted 15 March – 30 April 2023
  • 1,200 to 7,000 words
  • Attach to email as DOC or DOCX file

Contact spp (at) smokingpenpress (dotcom) for more information.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

All killer. No filler.

That’s the tagline for the 4 March “Make Crime Pay” event organized and presented by Writing Magazine (UK).

This is an all-day event with options for workshops-only or interviews-only, or both, for £30 and £50, respectively.

Author interviews include:

  • John Connolly, MJ Arlidge, Shari Lapena, Gytha Lodge, BA Paris, Adele Parks, Liz Nugent, and Cath Staincliffe.

Workshops and Panel Talks include:

  • Paul Finch, Susi Holliday, Louise Jensen, Tom Mead, John Sutherland, and Roz Watkins

As the schedule is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. GMT, you’ll be relieved to know that all ticket holders will receive a recording of the event.

Suspense Voice & Theme

Mystery Writers of America (Northwest Chapter) is presenting a full-day mini-conference 11 February. It’s online, and available to nonmembers as well.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite – $10/members and $20 for nonmembers.

Agenda includes
  • Increasing Pace & Suspense with Intentional Rewrites, presented by Elena Taylor
  • Writing Essentials: Voice & Theme, presented by Briana Lane

Read more about the courses and the presenters on the Eventbrite site.

Hailey, Idaho Murder Mystery

Idaho author Julie Weston has a book presentation at 5:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, 2 February, at the Hailey Public Library. The book: MOON BONES, a Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, the 5th in the series.

A book signing will follow.

The death of a Chinese man leads photographer Nellie Burns and Sheriff Asteguitoiri to Vienna, a ghost town in the Stanley Basin in 1920’s Idaho. Sammy Ah Kee, who taught Nellie to drive, found the man’s body and is accused of killing him.  With the help of Nellie’s dog Moonshine, they discover a conspiracy dedicated to enslaving Chinese immigrants. 

Find the book at Bookshop.org (supporting your local bookshop), Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.