Friday, March 22, 2013

Mysteries, excitement, and adventures with a printer

My printer's still only printing in red and blue. Very patriotic I suppose on white paper, and I can color all my words purple, so they print like those old pre-photocopies all smudged in a dark smeary wash. I almost expect them to leave bruises on my fingers when I touch them. But I suspect any publisher I submit to would take one look and say no without reading the story. Ah well, at least it gives me time for a few more edits. My excellent beta-reader friend has already dropped some hints about where the story could be stronger. So Infinite Sum enters it's next, not yet infinite, editing cycle, while I'm still dreaming it will a) be complete and b) be published before an infinite time passes by.

I'm dreaming my printer might print in black before then too. I've taken the print head out again and I'm soaking it, again, in warm water. Then I'll dry it with the hairdryer. And then I'll put new inks in all the slots--I'd already bought replacements before it died, and it doesn't look like they'll fit in any other printer I buy so I might as well use or abuse them. And if this doesn't work... well, that submission may have to wait a while longer and the edits will grow.

I've been reading too, as well as writing, editing and failing to fix printers. And I'm much in need of coffee as the printer head soaks--no, I'm not soaking it in coffee, but perhaps that would help. So pull up a chair, grab a cup, add milk and sugar if so desiring, and here are some mysteries and action tales with more convincing conclusions than the saga of my printer.

First is The Hounding, by Sandra de Helen, a Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson style story starring Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson, and set in Portland Oregon. The weather's perfect for the stories, as are the forests and streets. And the characters are pleasingly similar and different, providing a thoroughly enjoyable homage to their famous antecedents and a pleasing mystery filled with red herrings and curiosities. Best enjoyed with a well-balanced, smooth 3-star coffee.

Next comes Fangs Out, by David Freed. Flight instructor, and ex-military secret hero, Cordell Logan is short on cash again. Still striving for those Buddhist principals, still putting up with the cat that owns his own, still bantering with neighbors and friends and saying all the wrong things to his ex-wife, he finds himself taking on a simple investigation and ending tangled in death threats and a ten-year-old murder. Smooth, beautifully paced, enticingly cool, and just plain good reading, enjoy this elegant tale with a 4-star richly complex coffee.

Then there's Nothing Serious, by David Klein, where the mystery's more muted, the characters much louder, and the philosophy of immortality (through progeny, publication, prospects or preacherly pursuits) is balanced against the protagonist's gradual change from drug-induced haze to something resembling humanity. Crackling dialog, mind-bending argument, thought-provoking characters and situations--I love it! Enjoy with a 5-star intense cup of coffee.

Coldwater, by Diana Gould, offers a flawed female protagonist as the investigator of its mystery. While running from her past and trying desperately to lose herself, TV script-writer Brett Tanager is brought rudely back into the present when a young girl goes missing. The ex-step-daughter asks for help then disappears herself, and Brett has to clean up her act in order to see other people's actions for what they truly are. Dark and intense in places, pleasingly natural in others, this is a thinking woman's LA noir, best enjoyed with a 5-star dark intense coffee.

Finally Dellani Oakes' the Ninja Tattoo combines sexy romance with fast-paced action when ex-army guy Teague falls in love with a woman he met by chance in a coffee shop. Of course, the woman's family may prove at least as flawed as Teague's family is perfect, but fast action, in the bedroom, on the road, or fighting through the forest, will win through. Great fun, bright and lively, best enjoyed with a bright lively 2-star cup of coffee.

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