Category Archives: reading

Anne Bonny-Woman Pirate

In continuing my celebration of Women’s History Month (the first post featuring sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko can be found here) I thought I’d do a little more research on a woman I’d always been intrigued with: the Caribbean pirate, Anne Bonny. My husband and I are fans of Black Sails on HBO, and the writers incorporated a character based on Anne, which made me curious–how much is known about this woman who broke with convention and risked her life to live as a pirate?

Bonney, Anne (1697-1720)

Anne Bonny was born in Cork, Ireland in the late seventeenth century to a servant woman by the name of Mary Brennan and her employer, a lawyer named William McCormac. Her father moved her to London where he dressed her like a boy and called her Andy (another article I read mentioned that her mother was the one who dressed her like a boy, but we at least can be fairly certain it happened. Interesting twist, though.) When neighbors found out what he’d done, he moved her and her mother to the Carolinas and eventually became a wealthy merchant.

Anne was known to be “high spirited” and rumor has it she put a boy in the hospital for attempting to sexually assault her. Eventually, she married a small-time pirate named James Bonny and  her father disowned her. She ended up in the Bahamas, where she met John “Calico Jack” Rackham and fell in love. She divorced Bonny and, joining forces with Rackham and a woman named Mary Read, absconded with a ship called the William out of Nassau harbor. Apropos, I thought.

The three pirates gathered together a crew and sailed the Caribbean taking smaller ships, racking up a fortune. Both women fought alongside the male crew members, and Anne especially was highly thought of for her ability to wield a cutlass. http://bonney-readkrewe.com/legend.html In October of 1720, an ex-pirate who was now a commander with the British navy attacked Rackham’s ship the “Revenge” and captured all aboard. Apparently, the pirates were drunk from celebrating the capture of a Spanish commercial ship. Go figure. Drunk pirates… Anyway, all were tried as pirates in Port Royal and found guilty, and were sentenced to death by hanging. Anne and Mary “plead their bellies” and were spared. Mary died in prison from fever, but Anne was said to have been sprung from jail by her father. Rumor has it she remarried and lived well into her dotage.

Next week: more female pirates!


#Read #Free

Wattpad Thriller/Suspense Logo

Thrillers, Suspense & Mysteries, Oh my!

Hugely popular writing site Wattpad and pioneering e-Book distributor Smashwords have joined forces with 127 bestselling thriller, mystery, and suspense authors to offer murder, mystery, and thrills, all #free! For my part, I’m serializing the latest Leine Basso thriller, A Killing Truth. I’ve posted 5 chapters so far and will post a new section each day or so. (To introduce new readers to both Kate and Leine, I’m doing the same with Bad Spirits) Come on over and join Wattpad (it’s free) and discover a multitude of bestselling authors!

https://embed.wattpad.com/story/72446475

A Killing Truth on Wattpad (***follow me on Wattpad for automatic updates. You’ll be able to share on Twitter, Facebook, etc., and, if you like what you’ve read, you can vote at the end of each chapter to help with the book’s visibility***)

https://embed.wattpad.com/story/71268662

Bad Spirits on Wattpad

List of bestselling thrillers on Wattpad

List of bestselling mysteries on Wattpad

***NOTE: I realize posts have been sketchy (non-existent?) lately, but I’ve been immersed in writing the new Kate Jones thriller and am finding it hard to turn it off at the end of the day…that being said, I’m going to try to post a bit more regularly in the future. Thanks for sticking with me 🙂


Voice

Here’s an excellent article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch regarding the blandness of writerly voices from those who ONLY write by the rules. The takeaway: follow all the rules all the time and you may write passable-to-good books–but never great ones.

No Bland writing


Celebrate with a Book

So today I’m being featured along with CARGO on this cool site called Celebrate With A Book. The blog owner asks the same question of all her author guests: “What makes you write what you write?” Click here for my answer and to find out  which genre I chose for my first-ever book (hint: it’s sort of like fantasy…)

Cover for Cargo


Like Mystery and Suspense? 4 Authors You’ll Want to Read

I’ve been reading several new-to-me authors, mainly in the thriller/suspense/mystery genres, and thought I’d showcase a few of them. I’ve been blown away by the four listed here for different reasons. Hopefully, you’ll find a new-to-you author you may want to check out. (You can click on the covers to go to Amazon. I am an affiliate.)

The Inside Ring coverThe Inside Ring by Mike Lawson

I met Mike at Left Coast Crime last March (we were on a panel together) and he was one of the most down-to-earth, likeable guys I’ve ever met. The panel was a blast, and part of the reason was his wry sense of humor (actually, all of the other authors on that panel were witty as hell, which totally made the session). The Inside Ring is the first of the Joe DeMarco thrillers, and, sorry to use the cliche, but I was hooked from the first page. The setting is Washington, DC and DeMarco is a “fixer” for the Speaker of the House. There’s humor and suspense and, since I love thrillers with a side of wit, I took to his character immediately. If you enjoy entertaining political thrillers, I highly recommend the series.

 

cover for Cliff DiverCliff Diver by Carmen Amato

I discovered Carmen Amato through a Facebook group I belong to called Mexico Writers. I enjoy reading thrillers that take place in Mexico, and Amato’s books feature a wonderfully strong female protagonist named Emelia Cruz, Acapulco’s first and only female detective. Cruz is sharp, strong, and doesn’t take shit from any of her counterparts in the detective division, but she’s also feminine and her toughness doesn’t end up feeling forced. It’s rare to find a strong woman protagonist who doesn’t remind me of a man in women’s clothing (yes, I know that’s the definition of a cross-dresser, but that isn’t quite what I mean 🙂 ) but Amato pulls it off with Cruz, and does it well. The mystery/thriller part of the novel kept me on the edge of my seat, in large part because I really liked Emelia and felt a vested interest in her success/safety. The book is a fast read and was another one that “had me at hello.” I’ll definitely be looking for the rest in the series.

 

Zero Scover for Zero Separationeparation by Philip Donlay

Another author I met on that panel at Left Coast Crime was thriller writer Philip Donlay. He also had a fabulous sense of humor and was quite interesting to talk to. Philip was a professional pilot for several years before becoming a novelist, and it shows in his books. The aviation scenes are riveting–just enough information to give the reader an idea of what’s going on, but not so much technical jargon to take you out of the story. I downloaded the audio version of his book, Zero Separation, and listened to it on my drive to and from the conference in Portland. He writes strong women really well, and his character, Donovan Nash, is fun to read–the man has secrets upon secrets. I’m deep into Donlay’s newest book, Aftershock, and can tell you it’s shaping up to be a fantastic read.

 

cover for All the Blue Eyed AngelsAll The Blue-Eyed Angels by Jen Blood

How could I do a post like this one and not mention one of my fav indies, Jen Blood? Yeah, I know she’s not knew-to-me, but her books are always worth a mention, and she might be new to you!

Jen and I met eons ago when she reviewed Bad Spirits. I liked what she had to say, so I picked up her book, All The Blue-Eyed Angels, and never looked back. This is one mystery series that you’ll want to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end. Her character, Erin Solomon, has a massive arc through the five books and diving into the middle just won’t do her justice. I hear Jen’s working on a book featuring a character from the series. Sounds like my TBR pile is going to grow 🙂

So there you have it. Four thriller/mystery authors to check out. What about you guys? What are you reading? Do you have any authors in the mystery/thriller/suspense genre that you’d like to recommend? I’ll be doing these posts off and on, so suggestions are welcome!

 

 


A One Way Ticket to Dead Nominated for Readers’ Choice Award

Quick DVBerkom_AOneWayTicketToDead200update: I’m SUPER honored and excited to announce that Kate Jones #7, A ONE WAY TICKET TO DEAD, has been nominated by BigAl’s Books ‘n’ Pals in the thriller category for a Readers’ Choice Award!

Books & Pals Readers' Choice Nominee medallion

BigAl has been a major champion for indies, beginning with indie music back a few *cough* years ago. For Al, it was a natural progression to jump feet first into the independent publishing fray and get the word out about indie authors and small presses (see Al’s awesome interview here). As most of you know, there are very few “Indie Only” venues out there that truly support independent publishers and authors. BigAl’s review site, along with The Indie View, are two of the best. BigAl and his pals don’t charge for reviews, and they certainly don’t hold back on what they really think (although they’re nothing if not fair). Plus, they only review about 10% of submissions–you won’t be inundated by a gazillion non-vetted books.

So, instead of asking for your vote, I’m going to ask instead that you head on over to the site and check out the other fabulous books that have been nominated. Read the reviews, maybe even purchase a couple of the books for your reading pleasure. And yes, vote for the books you love and earn a couple of entries to win some swag. But most of all, I hope that you hang at BigAl’s for a while, check out the blog, join his mailing list to hear about authors you might never have found. It’s a great way to show your support for indie authors. (Voting ends March 28th)

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Botticelli-primavera

Botticelli – Primavera


Tough Female Characters

Frida Kahlo fake photo montage

Via WikiMedia Commons

So I just had an interesting conversation with a Facebook friend who is a voracious thriller reader about using a woman as the main protagonist in the genre. He’s been around the block a time or two and has read tons of both traditionally and indie published thrillers, so I generally listen to what he has to say. He’d just been introduced to Leine Basso, the protagonist in my second series, and mentioned in passing that Leine was what he deemed a “tough broad,” and, although the protagonist’s domain in traditional thrillers has typically been a men’s-only club, he thoroughly enjoyed reading about a woman who was as tough and accomplished as any male character.

And that got me thinking.

I write strong female characters because I can’t/couldn’t find that kind of protagonist in the books I like to read. Yes, I’ve read action-adventure novels with strong female protagonists written by both male and female writers, but of those I’ve read I come away with two main complaints: either the character is some guy’s wet dream (sorry, couldn’t think of a more appropriate description) where, for all intents and purposes, she’s a man in a woman’s body and has the emotional depth of a robot (no offense to any AI fans out there), or she’s tough as nails and self-sufficient until a good-looking man comes along. Then she turns into starry-eyed goo, or worse, lets the guy take over the fighting/sleuthing/whatever. To date, I haven’t read many novels that have a strong female action-adventure protag who kicks people’s asses without apology but also acts like a real human being, with all the inherent flaws. And don’t get me started on the air-brushed babes who can run in heels without falling and who are never without their lipstick. Ugh. Who can identify with that?

Obviously, not me 😀 .  (Seriously. You do not want to see me try to run in heels. Or maybe you do–it’s pretty hilarious…the things I do for research.)

Maybe I just haven’t read the right authors. And I’m not talking about brainy female characters who use their smarts to solve a mystery but don’t know how to fight or shoot or kill someone with a piano wire, although those definitely have merit.

My question to you is this: have you read an action thriller with a main female protagonist who doesn’t come off as a man in women’s clothing (which could be a fun genre–Transvestite action-thriller?), or who melts at the sight of a good-looking guy? I’d love to read it.


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