Happy Friday my reading friends! I hope your week has been grand. I'm still trying to get use to the fact that it's September already. Good golly who stole August?
I don't have a lot of odds and ends today because I've been pretty entrenched in work and some projects I'm doing around my house, but I did want to share this creative idea with you. Coincidentally, I just pulled out a bunch of t-shirts I really don't wear and was going to get rid of them, but now I'm going to give this a try this weekend. Might be something fun to do with bookish tees?
Also, just a little non-crime related tidbit. Today is the 20th Anniversary of MUTTS. For those who don't know, this is my absolute favorite comic strip. I adore Mooch, Earl and gang and idolize their creator, Patrick McDonnell. He does so much for animals through his work. So happy anniversary to the MUTTS strip. Here's to the next 20 years!
This week's contest rundown:
Criminal Element has a chance for you to win Lindsay Faye's Seven for a Secret and they have the "Thrillers and Killers" sweepstakes that could bag you a six-book take.
Friday Reads has a chance for you to win Thomas H Cook's A Dancer in the Dust.
And finally, my friend Lesa has a Linda Castillo giveaway--two titles from her Kate Burkholder series.
Now on to our special guest today. I'm always excited when we have a new face at the blog and today's is that of Julia Keller. Julia started her writing career in journalism (and worked in Columbus, Ohio for awhile!). She earned a Pulitzer Prize for her in the newspaper world and then moved on to crime novels, where she snatched up a Barry Award for her first book, A Killing in the Hills, which introduced Bell Elkins. The newest book of the series, Summer of the Dead, came out in August and Julia made time for us today.
So, please help me give a warm welcome to Julia Keller!
Adoption day for Julia and her new pup!
The last book I recommended to someone was “A Partial History of Lost Causes” (2012) by Jennifer Dubois. I stumbled across this blazingly brilliant novel quite by accident, after giving a reading last year at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville, Ill. I read it in what felt like a single astonished gulp. Now I fling copies at friends and strangers alike, murmuring, “You MUST read this.” It’s about a young woman dying from a chronic illness and a Russian chess prodigy determined to unseat Putin. Among the pressing questions dealt with in this heartbreaking, unforgettable narrative: How do you fight on, when you know it’s hopeless?
A superstition or ritual I have to observe when I write is Coffee. I must have a mug of black coffee at my elbow at all times. It must be searingly, center-of-the-sun hot, so hot that it transforms the tender skin on the roof of my mouth into dangling shreds of gloriously singed flesh.
My favorite toppings on a pizza are Pepperoni and sausage. Get those veggies out of here! A pox on your pineapple, your green pepper, your spinach! When it comes to pizza, I’m like the fellow in the film “The Quiet Man,” who, when asked if he wants water in his whiskey, says, “When I drinks water, I drinks water. When I drinks whiskey, I drinks whiskey.” When I eat pizza, I eat pepperoni and sausage. When I eat salads, I eat—wait. I don’t eat salads.
My favorite t-shirt is...What a great question! Every t-shirt tells a story. It’s a tie between a t-shirt I bought at a truck stop a few years ago—bright red, with a silhouette of a coal miner in a hard hat with a head lamp crawling along on all fours, with the caption, “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places”—and a green one that I purchased in New York some years ago at a tiny independent bookstore tucked away in some cubbyhole that probably rents for a billion dollars a month or thereabouts. It’s a woodcut of a lithe boxer with his dukes up. The caption reads, “Fight For Your Independents!” and below that, “New York.” The store is surely out of business by now, replaced by Forever 21.
The #1 item on my bucket list right now is to make a bucket list. Really. I’ve never had such a list, per se, and routinely snickered at those who do—but recently the serious illness of a friend has caused me to re-think my supercilious (and denial-infused) attitude. I have the usual travel destinations that beckon—Scotland, for instance, as homage to great Scottish novelists such as Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Denise Mina and Louise Welch—and the languages I’d like to learn, with Russian leading the pack, but mainly the emerging Bucketeers are not splashy or dramatic and instead are rather corny and homespun: To be a better cook. To learn to drive a manual-transmission car. To build my own bookshelves. (Planks straddling cinder blocks don’t count.)
O.k. Julia is ranking up near the top in best Five on Friday responses! And if her coffee response doesn't make you want to read her writing, I don't know what would! Thank you so much to Julia for these fun insights into her character. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. And I certainly hope we see Julia back on the blog again. You can connect with Julia on Facebook and learn more about her and her books at her website.
Have a super weekend my friends! I'll see you back here next week. Happy Reading!