Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Mitch Malone insisted on taking over for me. Says I’m slacking or something and he has a mite he wants to say. (He’s cringed at my attempt at an Irish Brogue!)

Mitch Malone here to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You see the wearing of the green may seem silly, but for us with a wee bit of Irish in them, it is sacrilege not to at least say something in its honor.

I’m not big on finding me kin but I do know the Malone family emigrated from County Cork in Ireland and then to the United States via Canada. Cork is famous for the Blarney Stone don’t you know.

I went to visit Ireland once as part of a high school trip. That was before I decided to be a crime beat reporter and was still pretty green. (St. Patrick’s Day does bring out the silly side of Mitch Malone.)

Now kissing the Blarney Stone was one of the hardest things to do. It’s like standing on your head. A little gymnastics is needed as you bend backwards over a very hard rock. When you look down and all you can see is air for three stories, you are in the right spot. Now all the blood is rushing to your head and it is no wonder you feel euphoria after you quickly plant a kiss on “the” rock just so you can reach terra firma again.

So, in honor of my heritage, I’ve donned a Kelly green shirt to wear under my leather jacket, just for today. Hope you’ve done the same. Here’s an Irish toast to commemorate the day:
Here's to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold beer-and another one!
--Old Irish Toast

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Motivation, Where Are You?

I’ve been back from my vacation for two weeks and have yet to post a blog. I’ve thought about it but just couldn’t get to it until now. I figured the best way to post the blog was doing it on why I wasn’t posting the blog. Motivation is the big thing.

When I am working on a writing project, it is hard for me to take a break and write a blog. My current project is a short story that has the characters from my second Mitch Malone Mystery series. It will be coming out in June with a working title of A Case of the Accidental Intersection. One of the characters, Elsie Dobson, I fell in love with. I had to do something else with her character and that started the short story. Mitch Malone is also prominent. I hope to have more information on the short story in a later blog. As you can see from my little detour here, I get very into the work in progress. So back to motivation…

I am the best procrastinator. I work best with hard and fast deadlines. That comes from my days as a newspaper reporter where the deadlines were mandatory and inflexible. With the blog, I haven’t forced myself to set any deadlines. That needs to change but to what, I haven’t decided. I’m thinking at least twice a week. On the Murder Must Advertise loop they have been discussing blogging and I’m learning loads. Blogs must remain fresh and there are many good ones. I’m working in that direction but it is so hard to stay motivated. I’m beginning to hate that word.

For me, the best motivation is to just get started. Quit waiting around and just get to work. Once I start a project, I can usually keep it going. Even if it is horrible at the beginning, and many times it is, within a short time it does get better or there is something of value that starts to take shape or I get a great idea that takes it in a totally different direction. That is what works for me and guess what? I’m posting this blog today. How’s that for motivating me into a posting on motivation? What works for motivating you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm back with a new review

Hey all, sorry for the hiatus but I had to go on vacation. While I was gone, I had a great book to keep me company. Here is a review.

A Review
The Traitor In Us All
By Robert S. Levinson
Five Star
February, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59414-852-1
Hardcover, 378 pp., $25.95
Reviewed by W.S. Gager

I received an ARC for Robert S. Levinson’s The Traitor in Us All and saved it for the eight hours of plane rides and airport sitting on my vacation. That was a bad move on my part because when I arrived, I was only three quarters of the way through the book and it wasn’t a vacation that lent itself to reading.

The Traitor in Us All is a perfect title for a book whose characters changes allegiances as one side is crossed and then double crossed to save an innocent’s life. The book loosely chronicles Jack Sothern’s professional life as an investigative reporter. The love of his life maneuvers him into the story of a lifetime from behind the iron curtain when he is young and unjaded. He can’t keep his end of the bargain to hold the story until the couple are out from behind the iron curtain. That costs him his love and professional career. That mistake spirals his life into failure and the haze of drug and alcohol abuse.

His purported salvation comes when two girls are murdered at their favorite pizza hang out and third teen is abducted. He offers his services to the mother who runs a high-class bordello and was the subject of his story that resulted in his fall from grace. Throughout the book several characters decide what it will take to betray their friends and alliances. As the last pages roll by, the sides change with the paragraphs and wrap up with a bow at the end. (I can’t go much further without spoiling the surprises.)

While the book is set in the here and now, there is back story which depicts the difficulties and politics of the cold war. The book realistically outlines the conflicts of the past, democracy behind the Berlin Wall and how old enemies must work together. Will crosses and double crosses be enough to save a young woman’s life? I suggest reading to find out.

Levinson’s characterizations are vivid and three dimensional and their weaknesses and poor decisions seem all too real. Sothern is a likeable and true to his character but disappears through long segments of the book as other action revolves to set up the climax. My favorite character is the kidnapped girl who refuses to be a victim during an ordeal which could crush lesser spirits.

This read is highly recommended. On my first night in my exotic vacation location I made it an early night to finish my reading! What could be better than I couldn’t put it down!

Disclaimer: Special Thanks to Robert Levinson for supplying the book for review.