Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with PI Carney Brogan from "Death of a Flapper"

We asked Carney Brogan a few questions about his latest case, one featured in the mystery, "Death of a Flapper" from Oak Tree Press, the first in the "Death by the Decade" Series.  Carney operates a private detective agency in NYC's Tin Pan Alley.
The time is 1926, the heart of the Roaring '20s and what is known as the Flapper Era.  The case:  A missing persons caper involving a young woman by the name of Alice Prado.
          As soon as Mrs. Lucille Prado came into my office, I figured she had lost her way, that happens a lot in Tin Pan Alley; but when she started to tell her story, about her missing daughter, I paid a little attention, more so when she showed me a photo of Alice, quite a looker.  There was something about Mrs. Prado that struck me as honest and earthy, and I told her I'd take her case--but not to expect a lot of success.  Grateful for at least that much, she gave me a buck retainer, and I went to work.

Q)  Carney, what makes your case so special?
          Little did I know that I would run into quite a bunch of characters, many of them from the ranks of high society.  I counted on some help from my inside source, Lt. Phil Spillman with the police department, and my friend, Bruno Kowalewski with the city morgue.  In addition, I get the lowdown from another friend of mine, Woody Byrd, an ex-musician who combs the streets of the Bowery; and then there's Pops Dempsey, who owns Dempsey's Boxing Gym and who's always good for an odds-on bet.
          I started with Alice's recent address, where I found her roommate, aspiring actress/dancer Sally Blair.  She told me Alice now went by the name of Arabella Germaine, a real party girl who enjoyed pearls, fancy champagne and even fancier guys.  She had been seen in the company of playboy Robert Landon and his group of spoiled, rich kids, including his sister, Regan.  Their friends came with the cutesy names of Muffy, Frenchie, Tippy, Hoochie and Spiffy.  Plus, I had a lead on some art gallery owner, a fancy pants guy by the name of Victor Cathcourt.  Sure, he knew Arabella all right.  In fact, she had been his muse in more ways than one.
          As I went along, I found a lot of inconsistencies in their stories, plus the kicker:  no one had seen Arabella since the weekend--at least not until she showed up in the morgue.  Now, as I looked down on that beautiful, pink angel--the girl who had been the life of the party--I knew I had to start earning that buck.

Q) Has this case affected your personal life?
          You bet!  I guess you could say I fell in love with Arabella, at least the image of her that I had formed in my mind.  The high society kids called her "Angel" and I couldn't agree more with that appellation.  She was an angel, an ethereal creature, and us mere mortals had been given only a brief glimpse of such beauty and grace.
          If that's not a hoot, Sally Blair, the aspiring actress/hoofer, keeps casting goo goo eyes my way, and my friend, Maeve Dempsey, wants to set me up with a friend of hers from the phone company, Harriet Mumson.

Q) What made this case hard to solve?

          Well, for one, everyone had an alibi, a lot of slick alibis by my count.  The rich sure think they can get away with even such a paltry excuse as murder; but I persevered, if not for Arabella, then for her parents who needed to know why their daughter had been left for dead on a grimy city street.  In the process, I almost got myself killed by a mobster named Slim Jim Morelli and his gang.  So, I just have to sort all the clues while I share a drink with my friend Phil at Jerry's Gin Joint, a real cat's meow speakeasy.

Q) What have you learned from the case?

          Well, for one, women are sure strange creatures.  One minute I think I can trust them, and the next--well, I prefer not to say.  Although, I can tell you this:  I finally got over my infatuation with the dead Arabella, and now I'm focused on Harriet Mumson who sent me violets while I was laid up in the hospital after a tangle with a couple of tough guys.  Harriet, or as I like to call her Pixie, just got under my skin for some reason--and who knows?  Maybe we'll tie the knot someday...

Carney's story can be found in:
Death of a Flapper (Death by the Decade Series) by Marva Dale and published by Oak Tree Press
now available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
For more information, go to Oak Tree Press or Ms. Dale's website at merrellspassion.info

Monday, January 30, 2012

Award nomination!

My book, "The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper" from Dark Oak Mysteries was nominated for an Eureka! Award for best first mystery novel at Left Coast Crime 2012, "Mining for Murder." The awards will be given out at the conference, March 29-April 1 in Sacramento, Calif.
Sally Carpenter

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 31, Last Day for Early Bird Fee for PSWA Conference

The Early Bird Fee is $200 for PSWA members and $225 for non-members which includes 2 1/2 days of program, 3 fantastic lunches, the writing awards ceremony, AND the chance to meet the OTP publisher and some of your fellow writers.
http://www.policewriter.com for all the information. You can pay by PayPal or print the registration form and send it in with a check.

Conference Speakers
Want to include the FBI in your novel? Do it right, using the proper context, and understanding how the Bureau operates. John Wills and Herm Groman will discuss FBI practices and terminology in their presentation: FBI Fact and Fiction.

JOHN M. WILLS.  John writes both fiction and non-fiction.  He has had more than one hundred articles published in various law enforcement magazines and websites, relating to police training, fitness, officer survival, and ethics.  He is a monthly contributor to Officer.com, the largest web portal for law enforcement, and is a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent.  His latest novel, Targeted, will be released in the Spring of 2011.  It is the third book in an exciting series John created, called The Chicago Warriors Thriller Series.  He also an award-winning author of short stories, many of which have been published in anthologies such as Randy Sutton’s,  True Blue to Protect and Serve (St. Martin’s Press), and Stories of Faith and Courage From Cops On The Street, part of the AMG Battlefields & Blessings series .  He is an authorized NCAA speaker on the topic of steroids and dangerous drugs
Herman GromanHerman Groman is a retired FBI Special Agent and is the current director of security at large Las Vegas casino/hotel.  While in the FBI, he specialized in working deep long-term undercover operations as an undercover agent in the areas of organized crime and narcotics.  He also served as the agent in charge of several high-profile public official corruption investigations.  Later on in his FBI career, he was a team leader of one of the FBI Special Operations Groups.  The specialized group conducted surveillances of major terrorist cell groups and their associates.  He served in the infantry in Vietnam and was awarded the purple-heart and bronze star for valor.  He resides in Las Vegas with his wife.  They have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

John MadiingerJOHN MADINGER explores the history and operation of an activity that Business Week called, "the crime of the 21st century."  The art and science of making dirty money appear clean goes back a long way, and has become a key part of almost any crime committed for financial gain.  The program will look at the first recorded money laundering scheme (it's in the Bible), a money laundering scam that brought down a president, the techniques that terrorists use to finance their operations, and the evolution of modern money laundering, from Al Capone to Bernie Madoff.  Money laundering may be the third largest business in the world, and it is certainly a key part of every organized criminal activity on the planet.  We'll look at how law enforcement attacks the problem and what the criminals do to avoid getting caught (and losing their money), and will gain a clear understanding of how and why money is laundered today.  
JOHN MADINGER recently retired as a senior special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. In his 36-year law enforcement career, he also served as narcotics agent, supervisor, and administrator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, a master’s degree in history from the University of Hawaii, and was the honor graduate in the Treasury Criminal Investigation Training Program. He was the recipient of numerous awards and citations from the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. Throughout his career, he had extensive experience in money laundering, forfeiture, and financial investigations; has developed training programs in these areas for the Treasury and Justice Departments; and has developed and presented money laundering training in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. 
John is the author of Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators, 3rd Edition, 2011, and Confidential Informant: Law Enforcement’s Most Valuable Tool, both published by Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, as well as Death on Diamond Head, a mystery set in Honolulu, Hawaii and published by Watermark Publishing.  He is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Public Safety Writers Association.

Kathy CottrelKATHY COTTRELL,  forensic nurse examiner and victim advocate, shares her years of experience working in the trenches with sexual assault victims, dispelling the myths and misconceptions about sex offenders so that authors don't fall into the traps presented by print and electronic media.
KATHY COTTRELL R.N.  has a varied clinical background from the Operating Room, Labor and Delivery and clinical instruction to nursing administration, investigating allegations of medical malpractice and, most recently, a legal nurse consultant on personal injury and negligence cases. 
For twelve years she was affiliated with the Regional Rape Crisis Service of Rochester, New York, first as a volunteer advocate, then worked her way up the ladder to staff coordinator and eventually director of the four county crisis intervention program which served an average of 1,000 victims of sexual violence and their significant others. Her most recent role with RCS was as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE.
A published author in her own right, Kathy uses her experience in her books and also in professional workshops with the goal of helping authors to incorporate authenticity into their writing. Particularly, she speaks to the impact of sexual violence on victims, the community and advocates.
John BrayJOHN BRAY will share a few stories of cops who crossed the line and ended up in the Administrative Trial Room. The tale of the cop who shot his lover’s unarmed husband, the theft of 100 lbs. of heroin from the locker room, to the Medal of Honor winner who extorted money from “Sonny Red” Gambino.
JOHN BRAY retired as lieutenant after 17 years on the New York City Police Department. After acquiring a BS and Juris Doctor Degree he was admitted to the bar and worked for four years as lieutenant prosecutor in the Department’s internal disciplinary system. After leaving the NYPD, he practiced criminal law for 30 years. Currently he’s the President of the Chesapeake Bay Writers Club and the author of two novels, The Ballad of Johnny Madigan and The Confidential.

Tim DeesIf your favorite writing tools are a legal pad and a fountain pen, this session is not for you. Most of us use word processors like Microsoft Word to get our ideas into print. Tim Dees will discuss techniques within Word that can streamline your workflow and allow you more time for creating and composing. We’ll talk about use of styles, macros, annotations, footnotes and endnotes. Effective use of the tools within Word allow you to produce a publication-ready manuscript, complete with an automatically-generated table of contents, index, and list of references. We’ll also look at an inexpensive writer’s software application called Scrivener. Scrivener has provisions for tracking the characteristics or each person and place in your book, so you don’t confuse details that detract from your story. It even generates character names of user-selectable ethnicity and period.
All those in attendance will receive a CD with narrated tutorial “movies” taking you through each technique, and a trial copy of Scrivener.
Tim Dees has been writing, training and consulting on applications of technology for over 20 years. He spent 15 years as a law enforcement officer in Reno and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation in Nevada before teaching criminal justice at colleges in Nevada, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia and Oregon. Tim has also been the editor-in-chief of Officer.com and LawOfficer.com. He serves on the PSWA board as the resident Alpha Geek. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from San José State University and a master’s in criminal justice from The University of Alabama.

The publishing scene has changed.  There are many avenues an author can pursue to get their work in the hands of readers.  One of those is paths is self-publishing. In the first few months of 2011, KATHY BENNETT decided to self-publish her full-length novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses.  In June of 2011 the book was available as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords making the book available to anyone with an e-reader, computer, tablet, or Smartphone. In October of 2011, A Dozen Deadly Roses was the #1 Police Procedural book at Amazon, and the #10 Suspense book, in the Top 20 of the Mystery/Thriller category, and in the Top 50 of all books being sold at Amazon.  The book also made the Top 100 of all Nookbooks sold at Barnes and Noble.  Over 40,000 copies had been sold. 
In this presentation Kathy will share with you her experience:  the good, bad, and the ugly in self-publishing her debut novel.  She’ll also discuss how her experience changed in publishing her second book, A Deadly Blessing (which she anticipates being available in early 2012).
KATHY BENNETT retired after twenty-one years as a Los Angeles police officer. Most of her career was working patrol in a black-and-white police car. She also served as a Senior Lead Officer, a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Police Academy, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover in carious assignments. She was named Officer of the Quarter twice and Officer of the Year once.

Peter KlismetPeter Klismet BS, MS, MPA, FBI (Retired) will discuss what the concept of criminal profiling involves, debunk some myths, identify some behavioral clues profilers are trained to seek, explain how going from the 'how' and 'what' differs from looking for the 'why,' at a crime scene, and review the differences between 'method of operation' and 'signature.'
After a 30 year law enforcement career, which included over 9 years with the Ventura (CA) Police Department and over 20 years in the FBI, Pete retired in 1999, the same year he received the National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award at an International Convention in San Francisco. Pete's FBI offices included Los Angeles; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Omaha, NE and finally Grand Junction, CO. He was selected as one of the original profilers in 1985 and in addition to considerable FBI training, trained and worked with law enforcement agencies on numerous homicide cases in the Midwest, in addition to his other duties. Pete is a graduate of Metropolitan St. College in Denver, received a Master's Degree from California Lutheran University and a second Master's from the Univ. of Southern California. He is currently an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at a Colorado community college.

All this and panels too about writing, getting published, and promotion.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Sunny here. I've posted my opinions over at http://coraramos-cora.blogspot.com/

My Review of The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier

The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier

J. Michael Orenduff

The Pot Thief books are known for making the reader hungry and this one is no exception. Herbert Schuze, better known as Hubie, is hired to design and make the prototype for  chargers (better known as plates) for a brand new restaurant soon to open in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hitch is the Schnitzel restaurant is going to focus on Austrian cuisine.

From the beginning nothing seems quite right, from the owner to all the quirky people hired to cook and serve. Hubie gets to know these people better than he’d like because he must do his pottery work in the restaurant while preparation for the grand opening are underway. The cooks are trying out all the new recipes and everyone must try them out. None sound appetizing, and most of the time Hubie sneaks away to find more appealing meals elsewhere.

For followers of the Pot Thief books, Hubie makes plenty of trips back home and to Dos Hermanos Tortilleria in Albuquerque to discuss the happenings and the employees of Schnitzel with his friend, Susannah, over margaritas and chips. In between, he reads about the life and times of Escoffier.

The opening of the Schnitzel is disastrous. Austrian food is not a hit with the epicureans of Santa Fe. The descriptions of the menu items were explicit enough for me to know I would never try them. Never fear though, Hubie does plenty of cooking and eating of much more tantalizing dishes.

Though I haven’t mentioned it yet, there is a murder and of course Hubie is the prime suspect. Along with the quest to find out the true murderer, Hubie is romanced, threatened, creates new dishes, bar tends, attempts a bit of burglary and safecracking, and is nearly murdered. As with all the Pot Thief books, plenty of subtle humor abounds, and Hubie enjoys his Gruet Blanc de Noir.

There’s much to love in The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier. It has all the elements that endeared readers to Hubie and this series, good food and drink, unusual characters, great settings, a puzzling mystery and plenty more. Though I recommend that all the books be read, each can be read as a stand-alone.

Marilyn Meredith, Author of Angel Lost and the soon to be published No Bells.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The wonders of cyberspace

I posted the piece below on my Pot Thief blog and it showed up here. Go figure. I was planning to post just the review portion here, but the intro material works O.K. here, so I'm just leaving it. Which is just as well because I wouldn't know how to remove it anyway.


Review of NO BELLS by F. M. Meredith

The Pot Thief Blog has been inactive since the end of the Murder We Write blog tour on December 9. After 14 days of posting blogs on other sites while simultaneously hosting other mystery writers for 14 days on this site, I couldn't bear to hear the word blog, much less do something on on. Then Lai and I left three days later for a month in our apartment in New York City. We enjoyed the Christmas displays in the big stores, saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Special, went to the museums and galleries, saw Billy Elliot, a great musical, visited with friends and relatives and lived the carefree life in our cozy pied-a-terre. Cozy? Try 350 square feet with a Murphy bed. Hey, we're lucky to have anything in Manhattan. If it were on the market today, we couldn't afford it. 

We returned just in time for the start of the spring semester. Lai had to turn her attention to teaching, and I had to turn my attention to treating a head cold with the staying power of a triathlete. When I finally got well enough to read, I treated myself to a pre-publication copy of F. M. Meredith's latest. So I'm restarting the blog today with a review.

Fans of F. M. Meredith’s long-running Rocky Bluff Police Department mysteries will be happy to learn the newest book may be the best yet. In No Bells, Gordon Butler gets his first leading role in this clever ensemble series. Butler is like Joe Btfsplk, the cartoon character in Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, a poor sap for whom things never quite work out. Meredith’s plot – her best yet – is a perfect fit for the character. Without giving away too much, he wins but he loses. It’s a very satisfying read, and the meaning of the title is not revealed until the end. No Bells is a tightly woven story. Just when you think you know “whodunit,” something happens to change your mind. Then you go back to your first guess. Then a different hunch arises. As always, every member of the Rocky Bluff PD and their family members has a speaking part as their personal lives and police issues give us another glimpse of a town we love to visit.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Five-star review for "Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"

Inga's Review posted this reaction to my book on Goodreads.

If you want to read something which is entertaining, fun and has a good suspense story combined with Beatles music and good characters then The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper is definitely for you! Sally Carpenter’s book is well-written, humorous, and original and it is easy to read! I really enjoyed it! Regarding the plot: Meet Sandy Fairfax: Sandy is 38 years old man who used to be a pop-star and an idol for young fans for many years ago and who has been on the road of deterioration for a while. Since he needs some work he is accepting the offer from his manager to attend a Beatles convention as a guest speaker. When he arrives, then everything is different than Sandy is used to – no limo to pick him up, no suite in the hotel, except the fact that he is still recognized and he still has a fan base. During the fan convention Sandy is ending up in the middle of the murder case and all the clues which are left behind are related to Beatles and their songs. In order to make sure that he is not accused as a murderer, he is using his knowledge from the TV-series he starred – Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth – to solve the mystery. I loved several aspects in the story. Firstly, I was fascinated by the details of fan convention. I have never ever attended at a fan convention and the spirit and the world of being a fan was very much fun to read about. How the characters know the details of their object of admiration, how they would choose no means to get a fan item – all that was put neatly to the paper by the author! Secondly, the dialogue was very vivid between the characters! Besides that, the inner world of Sandy was very captivating; I really enjoyed reading the book from his point of view. Thirdly, I also loved how the author changed Sandy – he developed through the story in very positive way. Regarding the characters: I liked Sandy because he started out as a middle-aged degraded pop-star with alcohol issues into the person he once was – person who loves music and loves creating and making music. He also grew as a person inwardly from being arrogant into a man who actually has nice personality. Bunny was annoyingly lovable. She was so into Sandy Fairfax that sometimes it seemed like harassment. She was smart and so keen to make sure that her idol Sandy was pleased. It was in one way very adorable and the other way also little too much. The other supportive characters were interesting and believable which also shows that author has thought through the stories of even the smallest and less important people in the book: the hotel manager, band members, police detective – they were all well-written. Generally: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper was very entertaining and good book! It’s a book which makes you laugh and smile and creates a lot of positive emotions for the reader. Even though there is a murder story in the novel, it still offers a very positive atmosphere and that is exactly the reason why this book gets a very good evaluation from me! Read it!


The topic is titled "You've Changed--Has Your Website?"

It's not enough anymore to just put a website up and forget about it. It's also not enough to put down the dates where you are appearing and the latest book you've written. You need to have a website that reflects not only who you are but where you're going. Does your website define you? Does it offer readers a reason to come back?

I looked mine over and realized what was important to me at the beginning of my career path had evolved into something quite different. The marketing sites I concentrated on informing my "Posse" is now available to everyone without any extra effort on my part.

It may be better to give than to receive, and I do get so much more satisfaction sharing the book covers of authors I've brought into Oak Tree and sites of other bloggers. But, what I receive is payback, the willingness of industry people to promote me in return. It's all good.

For the full article, go to

To check out Posse Posts on my website, go to: http://sunnyfrazier.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Website up and Running

I finally have my website up and running. Check it out at berylreichenberg.com. For a sample of my children's stories go to page 4 and page 5.
I'm writing new titles all the time and recently completed a book entitled "Camouflage" about how animals in the wild camouflage themselves. Reports from my test audience (my grandchildren and other small ones) have been very positive. Whenever I develop a new story, I always see now this audience likes the book and look for ways it can be improved by their comments. I find children are very truthful critics, no sugar coating here.

Time is Running Out for PSWA's Early Bird Registration

Public Safety Writers Association's Writing Conference which is in July in Las Vegas, has an Early Bird Registration Fee of $200. It runs out on January 31st.

This is a dandy conference for anyone writing mysteries or thrillers because you not only get to hear experts from all sorts of law enforcement and other public safety fields including the FBI, this year we also have a forensic nurse. Of special interest is the fact that we're having a crime scene created by Steve Scarborough (former Las Vegas CSI) and Mike Black (former Chicago cop) and everyone will be able to check it out and come to their own conclusion about it.

Our own publisher, Billie Johnson, and Marilyn Olsen, an editor of long standing, will be discussing the business of writing and publishing.

Go to the website http://www.policewriter.com/ to check out the other speakers. We will have panels on writing and promotion topics too. If you'd like to be on a panel, you need to register before June 1.

You may bring your books for sale also. PSWA only takes 10% of book sales.

And one more thing, the registration fee includes three fabulous lunches.

Hope to see you there.


Thursday, January 5, 2012