Friday, April 8, 2011


Read any good books lately?

I'll bet you're a reader. You wouldn't be reading this if that wasn't so. What we read reflects our lifestyle and interests but also can influence what we write.

I know of some mystery writers who won't read a mystery while they're writing their own books. That's to ensure nothing bleeds into their writing, be it the other author's style or information.

While I do agree with that premise, I've found myself reading the latest cosies from Berkley Prime Crime as quickly as they're hitting the shelves (in the Independent bookstores, I might add). Since that's my publisher, I feel I need to stay on top of what they're looking for and where their line is heading. Publishing trends change so quickly and by the time mine is published (2012), I may already be lagging. And this month it just so happens that Mary Jane Maffini's latest Charlotte Adams, the 7th in the series, The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, is one of those. It's hot off the press!

So, I have a stack of books on my bedside table, on two ends tables in the living room, and in my purse (never leave home without it). And these are just the books I have on the go -- more than one at any given time. I have books I've bought, books I've been given, library books and advance reading copies.

Along with the mysteries, I've just finished reading, a bit after last month's deadline for my Book Club, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I loved it! The writing flows, with well-chosen words and descriptions that take you right into the story. And, what a wonderful love story. I'll say no more! Hate to ruin it for you.

This month we read Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, also a feel-good story. Seems we're on a roll here. For me, there was the added benefit of a cast of wonderfully eccentric Southern women and although the state was Georgia, that's not far from where I've set my novels.

There are a variety of books on my TBR piles but those I'll review in the near future, as their publication dates approach, are Among the Departed by Vicki Delany, Reluctant Dead by John Moss, and Dead Ends by Don Easton. And I have it on good authority Thomas Rendall Curran's latest Eric Stride, Death of a Lesser Man, will soon arrive, along with The Witch of Babylon by Dorothy McIntosh. So many little time! Don't you love it!!

I'm not at a loss for books to read, as my TBR piles now spills onto the floor. How these will influence my writing remains to be seen because even though we try to remain a unique voice in the writing world, all things that touch our lives end up influencing what we write.

I think I've made some good choices here and I welcome what they have to show me. Why do you read? And, what are you reading right now?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
Mystery Book Club series coming from Berkley Prime Crime,
April, 2012


  1. It's "local authors week" for me. Last night I finished "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder" and started "The Fall Guy". After that I'll read "The Second Wife".

  2. I read constantly, mostly mystery, and like you, more than one at a time. Some I never finish, most I do. I love new discoveries! It's exciting when I discover an author I hadn't read and know there are 6-8 books I can follow. Thanks for your post. Some writers I haven't read are mentioned.

  3. Great suggestions, Elaine.

    I love discovering new authors, too, Diane. I also find that if I go back to someone I may not have enjoyed a few years ago, I have a whole new take on them.

  4. So happy to be in this great company! Thanks all!

  5. I'm always on the lookout for new authors. It feels a bit like a treasure hunt with a great prize at the end.