Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

lbd doll

The power of the little black dress. “Invented” by Coco Chanel, that close-to-perfection black dress hangs in every woman’s closet along with her best black heels and strand of pearls. In Jane Rosen’s novel Nine Women, One Dress the LBD is elevated to perfection: this one dress introduces true love, banishes gold diggers, inspires burkha’ed teenagers, hides a celebrity and does all but banish the Wicked Witch of the West.

I listened to Nine Women, One Dress on audio tape and candidly, must to admit not much liking it. Generally, I avoid featuring books on daeandwrite.wordpress.com that I dislike, but the reviews for Nine Women, One Dress are so over-the-top fabulous, I wanted to write about it and hope that some of my readers will tell me what I missed. Maybe it was the audio?

Seriously, here are some of the reviews: Rosen book

Rosen’s debut novel is rich in relationships, written with clarity and humor and surprise twists that bring the tale to a satisfying conclusion. A pure pleasure to read. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jane-l-rosen/nine-women-one-dress/

This is a fun book, tightly plotted and perfectly timed for the summer season. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-385-54140-4 

Rosen deftly peels back the layers and reveals the lives that inhabit the skyscrapers, brownstones, the department stores, hotels, and parks. Most of the time, it’s not pretty out there, and when it appears perfect on the surface, there is always, always, a story worth tellinghttp://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/reviews/a6422/nine-women-one-dress-jane-rosen/

First-time author Jane Rosen is a screenwriter and Huffington Post contributor according to her bio. She’s represented by a big-time literary agent, Alexandra Machinist at ICM Partners. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: I’m just trying to crack the code.

dressesNine Women, One Dress is a series of monologues of lives sewn together (see how I did that?) by their connection to one little black dress. As in one piece of fabric dress; not the same style dress owned by nine different people. This is like the traveling pants or King Arthur’s Excalibur. BE IT PROCLAIMED: SHE WHO PULLS THIS DRESS FROM THE RACK SHALL FORTHWITH GO FORTH AND HAVE INTERESTING EXPERIENCES. Along those lines.

And here’s another thing: listening to Nine Women, One Dress was like a six hour Bloomingdale’s ad. Love Bloomies. Love dresses. Love LBDs. Love books. Just sayin — the dress at issue comes from Bloomingdale’s and returns to Bloomingdale’s and the sales woman at Bloomingdale’s falls in love and the other sales woman at Bloomingdale’s maneuvers a couple into falling in love and a young woman hides out at Bloomingdale’s to wear Bloomingdale’s clothes and try Bloomingdale’s products  and take photos of herself in front of Bloomingdale’s displays. And sew on.

And another thing: Nine Women, One Dress opens with a prologue monologue from the point of view of an Alabama beauty queen turned runway model. Here’s a taste:vogue

“Every year there’s one dress,” she explained. “The front row people out there they choose it. See ’em?” She pointed to where two cavernous curtains met. . . . “Come fall those front row people are gonna put that dress on the covers of magazines, on red carpets, and in store windows. And it’s usually little and black, like yours.”

Her voice near bout erased her beauty. She was like one of those silent film stars my grandma used to go on about who went bust the day the talkies came out. She sounded so foreign to me. I reckon if I spoke with my southern drawl she would feel the same way about me.

I’ll just leave that there.

Nine Women, One Dress reminded me of Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman, another book about an iconic dress that didn’t read as well as the idea of the novel sounded.

Are you reading it? Have you? What did you think?

MENU

Classic New York because I don’t remember any or much food in the book.

Bagels are definitely mentioned.

New York-style pizza

Big pretzels with mustard

MUSIC

It would be easy to go all-Frank Sinatra. Or you could do a New York mix. Or — from fashionable Marie Claire magazine — a playlist of songs about fashion. http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/a11730/best-songs-about-fashion/

So, I always look forward to having comments from readers but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Nine Women, One Dress.

Happy Reading!

 

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Slade House, by David Mitchell

creepy stairs

Slade House is David Mitchell’s follow-up to the very successful The Bone Clocks (also reviewed on daeandwrite). I read Slade House in conjunction with fellow blogger “Run Bob, Run” (http://bobparksjohnson.blogspot.com). Bob has guest-blogged here on daeandwrite before; this time, I envisioned a point – counterpoint kind of thing but we may agree too much for that. Following, you’ll find Bob’s commentary in bold, mine in normal font.

“People are masks, with masks under those masks, and masks under those, and down you go.”  vintage mask

 This little insight from Sally Timms, an overweight, under-loved co-ed unaffectionately known to her mean-girl classmates as “Oink-oink” is as good a summary as any for this haunting little novel from David Mitchell. Slade House is not what it appears to be but in Mitchell’s world, nothing is. There isn’t much a fan of supernatural horror won’t recognize. There’s an old dark house, exotically connected twins, a mysterious seductress, a mischievous younger brother, even a long winding staircase with ghostly portraits hanging on the walls. There’s an old family curse that recurs periodically of course, and an apocalyptic struggle between good and evil whose resolution is never really sewed up. Mitchell’s story did not strike me as particularly ground breaking.  The engine that keeps these 237 pages turning is not the plot, but the characters who drift into Slade House. (I would say “drift in and out,” but nobody ever drifts back out.) 

Mitchell is the author of Cloud Atlas as well as The Bone Clocks and was recognized by Time magazine in 2007 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. From the three works with which I am familiar, the author is drawn to mystical treatments of reincarnation, whether in the Hindu sense of rebirth or the Bram Stokerish vampirism. He’s a mean yarn spinner. And while Slade House may not be particularly ground-breaking, the addition of Mitchell’s extension of life theme raises the level of writing.

I was immediately drawn in by Nathan, the autistic child whose social-climbing Mum is trying to juggle her ambitions as a classical pianist with the challenges of single parenthood in the ruthlessly classist society of London in 1979. Mitchell lets us see the world as Nathan sees it. Our attention leaps from one distracting detail to another. A flight of magpies. A yapping dog. A dead cat in an alley. Mum struggles to teach her boy the rainbow spectrum of polite conversation when he can only perceive black and white, good and bad, lying and telling the truth. Nathan is a compelling rendering of a child with Aspergers, and his all too brief appearance made me wish the author had allowed me to linger a little longer with him.

It is through Nathan’s eyes, and description, that we first see Slade House and its environs.

Slade Alley’s the narrowest alley I’ve ever seen, It slices between tow houses, then vanishes left after thirty paces or so. I can imagine a tramp living there in a cardboard box, but not a lord and lady.

“No doubt there’ll be a proper entrance on the far side,” says Mum. “Slade House is only the Grayers’ town residence. Their proper home’s in Cambridge.”

If I had 50p for every time Mum’s told me that, I’d now have 3.50. It’s cold and clammy in the alley like White Scar Cave in the Yorkshire Dales. Dad took me when I was ten. I find a dead cat lying on the ground at the first corner. It’s gray like dust on the moon. I know it’s dead because it’s a still as a dropped bag, and because big flies are drinking from its eyes. . . . It goes straight into the Top Five of the Most Beautiful Things I’ve Ever Seen.

Nathan was probably my favorite of the narrators also.

Gordon Edmonds, on the other hand, is a recently divorced, slightly balding police inspector with a bad attitude, a racist streak, and a barely restrained libido that leads him straight into the  bed of a beautiful young widow whose motives are infinitely less pure than his own.

slade houseIt is through Inspector Edmonds’ eyes that we get to experience more of the sensual experience of Slade House. He is served some divine meals by his hostess, Chloe Chetwynd, before he himself becomes dinner.

Jonah and Norah Grayer are the heirs and residents of Slade House, and they entertain plenty of other visitors: the psychiatrist with a secret, the team of collegiate ghost hunters, the weird little old man with an unbelievable story to tell, and Maggs, the forbidding landlady behind the bar of the Fox and Hounds pub who warns the nosey reporter not to stir up ancient history. It all has the creepy familiarity of a Hammer Films production from the 1960’s. There are perfect roles for Christopher Lee or Barbara Steele. Vincent Price might be a stretch, but Diana Rigg would be perfect as the willowy villain who keeps the slightly rusty gears of the plot turning.  

What is it about twins that make a horror tale more horrific? These two — who must feed off the souls of an “Engifted” human once every nine years — are particularly revolting, self-involved, and co-dependent. In Norah’s words:

Now I think of it, the Cote d’Azur could be the right sanctuary for Jonah to spend a few weeks after nine static years in his wounded body. The Riviera has no lack of privileged hosts whose hair Jonah could let down, and I would enjoy the sunshine on a host’s skin after five days of this absurd English weather. A moon-gray cat appears at Bombadil’s feet, meowing for food. “You’re not as hungry as we are,” I assure it. The wind slams down Slade Alley, flurrying sleet and leaves in its roiling coil. I . . . think of sandstorms at the Sayyid’s house in the Atlas Mountains. How the twentieth century hurtled away.

I wasn’t crazy about Slade House, but I’m not prepared to call it a lousy book. It’s just a familiar and vaguely predictable ghost story with interesting characters and a cliff hanger of an ending that promises more of the same from a future volume. It might be a nice diversion for your October Book Club meetings.

I thought it was a quick, interesting character study read. Spooky yes. But more serious themes are there: what are we making of this life? What is the point of it? How would you use unlimited time? Given the medical breakthroughs on the horizon, all of these issues may become more pressing.

FOOD

The menu? Well, a roast beef appears at one point, and there is a mysterious herb called banjax that only the most impolite of hosts would place on the buffet. A generous plate of hash brownies plays an important role. And if it isn’t giving away too much, the specialty of the house involves the careful preparation and consumption of souls. I’m not sure how Martha Stewart would translate any of this into finger food.

HA!! My menu would be taken from a dinner Chloe Chetwynd serves Inspector Edmonds.

Roast beef with “red wine, rosemary, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, soy.”

Roasted vegetables including parsnips, potatoes, carrots, cubes of pumpkin.

Rioja

Tiramisu

Picture shows TV Presenter Charlie Luxton

Picture shows TV Presenter Charlie Luxton

Given the setting and tone of the novel I suggest consulting Gordon Ramsay’s recipe box. A nice Beef Wellington seems like an appropriately costumed entree, with honey glazed parsnips and carrots on the side for a come-hither touch of earthiness. There needs to be lots of booze, of course, Slade House is not the place to stay sober. Dry Sherry before, Burgundy during, a nice port after. A slightly cloying and  intriguingly complex trifle would finish off the meal perfectly. In the den, with candles burning around the cracking fireplace, Moroccan coffee with a wittily ironic drop of Fra Angelico to intrigue the weary tastebuds and arouse the curious guests. 

MUSIC

Music? Anything with a theremin. Or if you want to go Longhair, slip Mussorgsky onto the phonograph. Pictures at an Exhibition might seem a bit grand by the light of day, but once your guests have enough beef and liquor in them, they’ll fall right into your trap.

Also mentioned in Slade House: Philip Glass’ soundtrack for The Truman Show, “Novocaine for the Soul” by Eels, “Caught by the Fuzz” by Supergrass, “Hyperballad” by Bjork, “Safe from Harm” by Massive Attack. The films Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Exorcist make brief appearances and their scores would add the perfect creepy touch as well.

Thanks to Bob for reading and writing along with me!

Happy reading!

 

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Reading for the Dog Days of Summer

good housekeeping

It’s hot. Hot hot hot everywhere. Too hot to do anything but sit by a pool with your favorite canine companion and read a book. Might as well read about a dog! or two!

Some of my favorite novels star dogs. And speaking of star dogs:

dog starsThe Dog Stars, by Peter Heller haunts me to this day. It’s not actually about a dog, but about a post-apocalyptic world where most everyone has died of an influenza.  It’s gorgeously written, stirring, and truly deeply madly sad.

daeandwrite featured The Dog Stars in September, 2014. Here’s the link for a menu and music and more information: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-dog-stars-by-peter-heller/

The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski, is another absolutely heartbreakingly edgar sawtelle coverbeautiful book of prose. Edgar Sawtelle is a child born mute; Almondine is his constant companion, interpreter, guide. She’s the best friend everyone wants. I love this book, though it is again, very very sad.

In the dog days of August, 2015, daeandwrite featured The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle, with menu, music and a movie cast: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/a-dogs-tail-the-story-of-edgar-sawtelle-by-david-wroblewski/

art of racing.jpgThe Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Oh wow. The dog is the narrator. And what a narrative voice. Brilliant, this book is. Enzo, the dog, is coach, grief counselor, and above all, extra human.

Since March of 2014, when daeandwrite first posted a review of The Art of Racing in the Rain, noting that Patrick Dempsey had signed on to play the human race car driver in Enzo’s life, Disney has bought the rights to make the movie and Dempsey is no longer involved according to the Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-picks-up-canine-best-858374. Here’s my original post, with menu and music choices for your book club: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/vacation-my-dogs-life/

book_cover_website_photo_0

A Dog’s Purpose, by Bruce Cameron, is another weeper. They all are! Yikes and yet I love
them all! Again narrated from the dog’s point of view, A Dog’s Purpose features one special dog whose soul mate is his human. One of my book club’s favorite reads ever.

An update to my original post regarding the movie — it’s expected out in 2017 with Bradley Cooper voicing the dog and Lasse Hallstrom directing. Here’s the original post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-dogs-purpose-is-apparently-to-make-me-cry/

A few other ideas, books I haven’t reviewed but fit our theme:

Marley & Me, John Grogan (If there is anyone on planet Earth who hasn’t read it yet)

Cujo, Stephen King

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Happy Reading & Stay Cool!  IMG_0115

 

 

 

Emma, A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith

Emma

As much as I love Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet — and particularly Mr. Darcy — it may very well be, if I am quite honest, that I, myself, have more in common with Emma Woodhouse. Miss Austen’s Emma is — a “spoilt, self-deluded” (The Guardian), “altruistic, but self-absorbed” (Time), controlling, opinionated, and kind (Me) young woman living in a small rural community with her chronically-neurotic, hypochondriac father. I like Emma. And despite her penchant for getting in her own way, or perhaps because of it, I find Emma quite charming.

I feel I must not be alone. “Emma” has ranked in the top five of girl’s names bestowed at Emma Gellerbirth in the United States since 2002. However, that is much more likely to the birth of Emma Geller Green on April 4, 2002, to Ross and Rachel of Friends. But where did they get the name? I ask you. (Friends-o-philes know that Monica chose the name first and Rachel stole it. But Monica must’ve gotten it from Miss Austen!)

As part of HarperCollins’ Austen Project, where modern writers have been tasked with rewriting Jane Austen’s novels, The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith has rewritten Emma. This Emma, A Modern Retelling is the fourth of the Austen Project novels released, but only the second I’ve read. Eligible!, by Curtis Sittenfeld, is most recent and I loved it. In fact, my book club is reading Eligible! on my recommendation this month. Here’s the link to my review of Eligible! https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/eligible-by-curtis-sittenfeld/

Emma, The Modern Retelling, treads quite softly on Austen’s hallowed ground. Really, all minicooperthat Smith has changed significantly is the century. Emma herself, living alone with her father, is as recognizable as a beloved teddy bear. George Knightley is his same lovable self, though a bit reticent; Harriet Smith, Philip Elton, Jane Fairfax, Frank Churchill. All is so much the same, one is quite shocked when a MiniCooper appears. Even Emma’s slight of Miss Bates finds a modernish interpretation:

Then there was Miss Bates. Emma felt a sudden tug of conscience and told herself that she must make more of an effort with Miss Bates; she must give her a bit more of her time. It would be easy enough; all she had to do was to call on her now and then – Miss Bates was always in – and give her a present of those violet creams that she liked so much but obviously could no longer afford. Miss Bates, she assumed, divided her life between the violet-cream days – before she was an unsuccessful Lloyd’s Name – and the days in which violet creams were just a distant memory. Lloyd’s Names had suffered in many different ways – being deprived of violet creams was just one way in which financial disaster brought hardship. Poor Miss Bates – and there she was sitting next to James, who was being so kind to her, as he was to everybody, whatever his or her failings.

I enjoyed McCall Smith’s Emma . . . but not as much as I enjoy reading and rereading Miss Austen’s original. Indeed, at the conclusion of the “Modern Retelling,” I wondered what the point of it was? There were no updates to plot, character, setting and even the minor changes to things like occupation and schooling (and a sperm donor in lieu of illegitimacy) did not have any significant impact. In her review for the New York Times, Leah Price said:

Emma bookMcCall Smith’s “Emma,” in contrast, reads like a too literal translation. His reluctance to alter now anachronistic details ­forces him to spend pages explaining why, in an age of universal schooling, Emma would have a governess, and why, at a time when overscheduling afflicts even the erstwhile leisure class, she wouldn’t have a job.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/books/review/emma-a-modern-retelling-by-alexander-mccall-smith.html

Emma, A Modern Retelling, is an easy read, enjoyable. But unlike Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible! which gives Pride & Prejudice a true modernity, McCall Smith’s Emma doesn’t have much point.

For information on the other Austen rewrites: http://www.boroughpress.co.uk/?s=Austen+

MENUMM-sign-Rural-capital-etc

McCall Smith provides several menus from which to choose for your book club.

“Parma ham laid out on a plate with asparagus spears and quails’ eggs” served at Emma’s first memorable dinner party.

Melton Mowbray pies — which is, according Wikipedia, made from “uncured meat, grey in colour when cooked; the meat is chopped, rather than minced. The pie is made with a hand-formed crust, giving the pie a slightly irregular shape after baking. As the pies are baked free-standing, the sides bow outwards, rather than being vertical as with mould-baked pies.” Personally, I would skip those.

The Oak Tree Inn’s blackboard lunch menu of “potted shrimps, steak and kidney pie, sticky toffee pudding.”

And of course, the violet creams, Emma’s gift to Miss Bates. Available for order from Fortnum & Mason or on Amazon. Or if you are a courageous candy-maker, here’s a recipe link: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/violet-creams.

MUSIC

Emma is playing Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies on the piano when George Knightley arrives for a visit with Mr. Woodhouse. Mr. Woodhouse describes the music — in one of my favorite lines in the book — as “the sort of thing a spider would play if spiders played the piano.”

She also plays Beethoven’s Fur Elise.

And Jane Fairfax is, of course, even more of a talented pianist. She is compared to Bach.

MOVIE CASTING

Emma — Felicity Jones might make a fine Emma. Or Emma Watson.

Harriet Smith — Imogene Poots

Jane Fairfax — Scarlett Byrne

George Knightley — Henry Cavill

Philip Elton — Alex Pettyfer

Frank Churchill — Sam Claflin

So there you have it. Read Emma one way or another.

Happy Reading!

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Brain Storm, by Elaine Viets

brainstorm

Author Elaine Viets loves mysteries. She’s the author of a series of humorous “Dead End” job mysteries, a slew of cozy mysteries, and even some mystery shopper mysteries (I really want to read one of those!). But when it came to her latest novel, Brain Storm, the mystery began not just in her own mind, but in her own head.

And there’s a Kentucky connection! Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt is the doctor who saves Angela’s life. Born in Kentucky and named for his mother’s favorite country singer.

Elaine Viets was kind enough to visit with daeandwrite and share some of her experiences. I think Elaine’s suggestions will make a great blueprint for your book club and Brain Storm an intriguing choice. Lots of great discussion points: what happens when you can’t be you anymore; how does a small community protect its own; who do you rely on when you can’t trust anyone?

Give a read to the q & a below, then go check out Elaine Viets’ Brain Storm:

DaeandWrite:  I understand you have some things in common with your protagonist Angela Richman, the death investigator who suffers a stroke near the beginning of the novel. Tell us about your experience and how it influenced Brain Storm.

Elaine Viets: In April, 2007, I had a series of blinding headaches, which I thought were migraines. After four days, I had trouble talking and doing everyday tasks, such as tying a bow in my robe belt. I couldn’t figure out how to use a fork to scramble a breakfast egg. If you know my cooking skills, this sounds like a fair description, but I seriously could not figure out that fork. I was determined to ignore these symptoms and drive 40 miles to give a speech, but my husband took away my car keys and called my internist, who sent me to the ER at a hospital that billed itself as one of the “fifty best” in the US. The neurologist on call said I was “too young and fit to have a stroke” and sent me home. I was supposed to report that Wednesday for a PET scan, but Wednesday never happened. Instead, I had six strokes, including a hemorrhagic stroke, and brain surgery. I was in a coma for a week and spent more than three months in the hospital. I used a walker for six months and a cane for two years. I’ve made a nearly complete recovery, but that took more than four years.

DaeandWrite: Viets describes Angela Richman’s mirror experience near the beginning of Brain Storm:

Brainstorm jacket“Better,” she said, though another headache was gathering at the edges of her mind, like a storm on the horizon.

“Would you like coffee?” she asked.

“Brought my own,” he said, holding up his thermos. Angela scrambled an egg, then swallowed another Imitrex.

She fought the headache all day as she struggled with her report on Ben Weymuller’s death investigation. Angela turned it in about four o’clock. At four thirty, Rick poked his head in her study door.

“I’m leaving now,” he said. “this is even more screwed up than I thought. It’s gonna take at least a month.”

“I’ll give you the spare key, in case I’m at work tomorrow,” she said. Like everyone in the Forest, she trusted Rick.

Angela could barely see him through the blinding migraine dazzle, as if he were spotlighted on a brightly lit stage. She was determined to push through this. She was too young and fit to have a stroke. The Forest’s top neurologist had said so.

“Are you feeling better?”

“I’m fine,” she said, forcing a smile. “I’ll lie down until it’s time to go out with Katie.”

Angela crawled into bed for a nap that soft spring night, Thursday, March 10. And woke up nineteen days later.

In Brain Storm, Angela confronts a world that’s radically changed. She’s physically infirm, her appearance has been radically transformed from surgery and medication, her job is at risk, and something funky is going on with the doctor that mistakenly released her. Throughout, Angela complains vocally about the hospital food, a complaint I anticipate began with Elaine.

DaeandWrite: I would guess that during your own hospital stay you became more than frustrated by the hospital food?

Elaine Viets: The food was horrible – and so unhealthy. Red meat with gravy, white bread, fried food, no fresh fruits or vegetables. I still shudder at the thought of canned green beans. Don’t hospital dieticians read the nutrition guidelines?

DaeandWrite: Did you have music you listened to during the writing or editing process? Any particular genre or songs? Do you have songs you associate with any particular character?

elaine headshotElaine Viets: Angela Richman, my death investigator, likes to hit the highway in her black Dodge Charger, and play her favorite songs from her teen years in the 1990s – nice and loud. She likes Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Londonbeat’s “I’ve Been Thinking about You.” She’d be mortified if you knew she also listens to Marky Mark’s “Good Vibration.”

I don’t listen to music while I write or edit, but at the end of the day, I like to kick back to classic rock: the Stones, the Doors, Eric Clapton.

DaeandWrite: Angela and her friend Katie have a favorite Mexican restaurant. Is this based on one of your favorite restaurants? Or do you cook yourself?

Elaine Viets: I’m a terrible cook, but I love Mexican food. There are some good ones in Fort Lauderdale, including Casa Frida’s in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re in the area, I recommend it. It’s a cut above the usual taco joints.

DaeandWrite: Brain Storm was released in 2016. What’s next?

Elaine Viets: The second Angela book, Fire and Ashes, which I’m writing now. It will be

published by Thomas and Mercer in August 2017.

DaeandWrite: Any book signings/events coming up?

Elaine Viets: Yes, I’ll be at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention at the Marriott New Orleans, September 16­18. I have three events at Bcon on Saturday, September 17. From 3:00­3:50 PM, I’m on a panel, “Shake It Off: From Notes and First Draft to Finished Novel.” This is a funny, thought­provoking discussion with mystery writers Harry Hunsicker, LS Hawker, Laura McHugh, Jeffrey Siger and me. Daniel Hale is our moderator. At 4 o’clock, right after the panel, I’ll sign my books, including Brain Storm.

At 2 p.m. that same Saturday, I’ll be signing Blood on the Bayou at Bouchercon. More than 22 writers, from Alison Gaylin to David Morrell, Sheila Connelly to Gary Phillips, have donated stories to this NOLA­themed anthology. New York Times bestseller Heather Graham wrote the introduction. I did a Dead­End Job story. Helen and Margery leave the Coronado for a case in New Orleans in “Good and Dead.” All proceeds from Blood on the Bayou will benefit the New Orleans Public Library. Buy a copy, read your favorite authors, and help the library.

On October 8, I’ll teach a class – “Jump Starting Your Writing” – at Sleuthfest on Saturday, a one­day intensive writing conference sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. This year, SOS is in Venice, Florida. For information, go to https://www.regonline.com/SleuthFest­on­Saturday­2016

On Nov. 12, I’ll be in Vero Beach, Florida, teaching a writing workshop for the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation, “Writing Killer Mysteries – The Basics” from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Loft. More information is at

http://www.lauraridingjackson.com/

After the workshop, I’ll sign Brain Storm and my Dead­End Job mysteries at 3 p.m. at the Vero Beach Book Center, 392 21st Street that same day.

(www.verobeachbookcenter.com)

I’m really looking forward to next spring, when I’m the Malice Domestic 29 Guest of Honor from Thursday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland. It’s quite a lineup: Marcia Talley is Toastmaster, Charlaine Harris is honored for Lifetime Achievement, the award­winning Martin

Edwards receives the Poirot Award for his contribution to the genre, and Luci Zahray is Fan Guest of Honor. Luci’s no ordinary fan. She’s also the “poison lady” who’s helped writers kill thousands. (www.malicedomestic.org)

DaeandWrite: Where can readers purchase Brain Storm?

Elaine Viets: Brain Storm is a trade paperback, e­book, and audio book. You can buy it here: (amzn.to/2awPsIe). Right now the paperback version is on sale for $9.99. Autographed copies are available at The Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street, New York City (info@mysteriousbookshop.com) or at Murder on the Beach Bookstore, Delray Beach, Florida, (murdermb@gate.net).

Thanks so much for letting me stop by your blog.

MENU2010_03_roasted_cauliflower-2

So, for this Book Club I’m going to refer to the grilled chicken sandwiches, artichoke salad and chocolate cupcakes Katie brings to Angela in the hospital. But I have to also add:
cauliflower! The original brain food.

My culinary hero Ina Garten has a delicious roasted artichoke salad recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-artichoke-salad-recipe.html.

For the cauliflower, though I definitely will leave one head whole and sliced, I also love to mash it for low-carb mashed potatoes. Put cauliflower in pot with enough water to cover. Cover the pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender. 3. Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and mash with a masher until it looks like mashed potatoes.

There’s also a complete Mexican menu for dinner in Brain Storm: guacamole with thick chunks of ripe avocado, crunchy tortilla chips and hot salsa. Platters of steak fajitas, chicken burritos, and steaming bowls of black beans and rice.

MUSIC

I like Elaine Viets’ list above. If you want to go a different route, here are ten songs Steve Jobs used to train his brain according to Inc. Magazine: http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/10-songs-steve-jobs-used-to-train-his-brain.html

MOVIE CASTING

Well, this is definitely one of those physically transformative roles that every actress wants to win her Oscar.

Angela Richman:    Anne Hathaway

Katie:                          Kathryn Hahn

Dr. Gravois:              Tony Goldwyn

Dr. Tritt:                    I think he may be a little long in the tooth for the character as written, but I couldn’t help but see Billy Ray Cyrus in the role.

MEDICAL PSA

Let me take a moment and share some information inspired by Brain Storm that might save a life. According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, these are the ways to recognize stroke:

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Thank you so much to Elaine Viets for sharing with daeandwrite.wordpress.com. If you enjoyed this blog post, please follow daeandwrite and share with your friends.

Happy Reading!