Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Panty Museum - it had to be Brussels

I love museums. I've written about several, shall we say, oddball museums. There's the British Lawn Mower Museum, the Beijing Tap Water Museum and the redoubtable Mustard Museum in Wisconsin.

A couple of years ago, Jan Bucquoy, the enfant terrible of the Belgian art scene created the "Musee du Slip" in Brussels. He displays underwear of famous celebrities and politicians like those of Belgian Minister Didier Reynders. So there can be no doubt, his faded blue boxer shorts came with a certificate of authenticity. To further titillate panty fetishers, the white striped boxers are displayed next to the G-string that allegedly covered certain parts of the former Belgian porn star Brigitte Lahaie.

There rules, after all. Owners must have worn their undies for at least one day.

"I want to create poetry with everyday things by putting them in a different context," Bucquoy told Reuters. "I say underpants are art. Put them in a frame and create a new way of looking at the world."

"Alongside celebrity skivvies are artworks that Bucquoy has created over the past 25 years featuring celebrities and underwear that is admittedly not their own. For example, you can find ones of former US President John F. Kennedy and Adolf Hitler wearing underwear on their heads.

An Andy Warhol-style print of Margaret Thatcher, wearing a skin-coloured flower-patterned pair of women's underpants, contrasts sharply with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose tri-coloured Y-fronted headwear unmistakably resembles a Napolean Bonaparte hat.

Bucquoy is reported saying that if he had portrayed Hitler in his underpants there would not have been a war. "My quest as an artist is to try to get rid of hierarchy," adding that he hoped he might be able to get underwear samples for his museum from French first lady Carla Bruni, Pope Benedict XVI and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Now there's a trifecta for your fetish.

--From Reuters news reports

Submitted by Gerrie Ferris Finger

Sunday, December 18, 2011

WHISPERING - an Excerpt

It's 1921, the Great War (WWI) is over, Prohibition is the law of the land.  Women now have the vote, the flapper era has begun.

After cognac had been served and Neill and Teddy yawned themselves to their feet pleading exhaustion, she found herself next to Graham, walking down the hall to the bottom of the staircase. She swallowed the knot at the back of her throat.

“Would you like a moonlight walk on the beach?” he asked.

She stood with her hand on the banister, unable to meet his eyes. “I need sleep.”

“I bet. Traveling can give one the screaming meemies.”

She grinned at him. “More like swooning.”

He covered her hand with his. “No swooning, it’s out of fashion.”

“I see you’re a slave to fashion.”

“Absolutely. My own idea of fashion.”

“You dress very smart.” What a dumb thing to say.

“That’s because a smartly-dressed man can hide a multitude of idiocies.”

“What idiocies?”

“Ummm, I don’t confess everything to a woman I’ve just met, no matter how gorgeous. Wait until tomorrow.”

“I shall.” She placed a foot on the first step. “Time …”

“Teddy has taken to you, too, you know.”

“Teddy is fun.”

“If fun’s not included, Teddy doesn’t do it.”

“Like you?”

“I look for a little fun in my life.”

“I guess so, after that beastly war.”

“It was beastly, but there were happy times.”

“You can say that now you’re safe at home.”

“I say, Cleo, I am sorry about …”

She bobbed her head trying to see William in her mind, but his image didn’t come. How could it, she thought, with all the unfocused emotions swirling there?

He drew in a breath. “I want to see happiness in those marvelous green eyes.”

How could she forget the sharp pain of those unhappy days? “I am happy.”

“But sometimes a little melancholy?”

“What’s wrong with melancholy?”

“We at Southerness do not tolerate melancholy.” He lifted her chin with a finger. “Got that, little Bearcat?”

She was not sure if she could get the words out of her mouth to say that her mood was beyond categorizing. She drew away from his finger. “Good night, Graham.”

“Can I ask you something?”

She held her breath for a second. “Yes.”

“Promise a walk on the beach tomorrow night? The lighthouse shows best by moonlight.” He sensed her hesitation because he squeezed her arm. “I’m harmless.”

She gave him her best I-don’t-believe-that-for-a-minute smirk. “What if it rains?”

“It wouldn’t dare. What say?”

“Let’s see about tomorrow.”

“That’s not a no.”

“No, it’s not a no.”

“I’m a happy fella then.”

“Good night.”

“Golf after breakfast?”

“I shall give it my best,” she said.

He went off singing, Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning ...

Finally – she could take a deep breath.


Thanks for reading. I'd appreciate your comments.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I am a journalist and author.

While reporting on the moving of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the building of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Cape Hatteras on The Outer Banks, I heard fabulous stories, some legends, some true and mythic. The Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoal is all of them in one mystery.

One morning after a storm, I went down to the shore and saw the bow of a shipwreck that had been uncovered when the sea surged outward. Standing there at the black bones, I felt a sizzling inside my own bones. That ship was a small coastal schooner, but I wanted to know more about The Ghost Ship. I interviewed an elderly gentleman whose ancestor was in the Coast Guard and was one of the men who boarded the Carroll A. Deering during the investigation. He said his cabin was constructed from some of her timbers after she was declared a danger to navigation and dynamited.

So began my novel.

I'm the author of six novels. THE END GAME is an award-winning traditional mystery, available in hard cover and Kindle.

THE GHOST SHIP available at: http://tiny.cc/9hrsy

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I speak to book clubs, libraries, civic clubs and book signings. Inevitably I'm asked if I base my characters on celebrities or people I know.

I use people I've known or strangers that impress me  to craft characters, but while they're important to me, most readers want to know about celebs, so I'll reveal all.

In the Laura Kate O'Connell Plantation Series, I've used Robert Redford's and Sean Connery's facial and personality characteristics. Laura Kate is most like Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O'Hara.

Moriah Dru in THE END GAME looks like Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel). I tried to make Richard Lake look like Warren Beatty, but Lake wouldn't cooperate. As Dru observes, his irregular facial lines and planes come together to make him handsome.

Ann Gavrion's "silvery quality" in THE GHOST SHIP was modeled after the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

Having a "model" helps in "seeing" these characters. But, like Lake, most of my characters have unique appearances and personalities that comply with their actions and attitude. When they act out I have to rethink my visual of them.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review of A DEAD RED HEART and conversation with newsletter editor and author R. P. DAHLKE, creator of Lalla Bains, ex-model turned crop-duster

Rebecca tells us in her own words:

I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he’d rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours. After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.
I write about a tall, blond and beautiful ex-model turned crop-duster who, to quote Lalla Bains, says: “I’ve been married so many times they oughta revolk my license.” I wanted to give readers a peek at the not so-perfect -life of a beautiful blond. Lalla Bains is no Danielle Steele character, she’s not afraid of chipping her manicure. Scratch that, the girl doesn’t have time for a manicure what with herding a bunch of recalcitrant pilots and juggling work orders just to keep her father’s flagging business alive.
I enjoy writing with humor, and if you enjoy my books, I'd love to hear from you! Here's my e-mail:
Rebecca is also the genius behind the:
About All Mystery E-Newsletter
I created this website to explain to readers how All Mystery works:
  • It’s not a website or a review site
  • It’s not like Amazon where you’re locked into buying only from them.
  • It’s not Good Reads where the e-newsletter only promotes NY Times Best Sellers
Instead, this is a monthly e-newsletter that features authors from NY Best Sellers to the rising stars of today.
Each issue has a fun theme to tickle your imagination: British authors, exotic locations, Murder at Work, Paranormal Police Procedurals & PI’s , Historical Mysteries, and Romantic Suspense.
Each feature includes the following:
  • Colorful book covers with click through to the author website
  • Book description
  • Reviews
  • Buy Now click-throughs to Amazon for zippy fast purchase
  • Want to read more about the featured authors, or revisit one you read about last month? A left hand column has all of this year’s author websites.
Join at http://allmysteryenewsletter.com

A Dead Red Heart
By R. P. Dahlke
Reviewed by Gerrie Ferris Finger
BUY: http://tiny.cc/uzywp

I’m a sucker for places I’ve never been and I’m overjoyed when I come across a setting/location that puts me there as R. P. Dahlke does with Modesto, Calif.
Also, I love a kick-butt heroine with a sense of humor and a good heart. Lalla Bains is all that and more. A former model turned crop-duster pilot (sounds weird, but good writing and plotting makes it plausible) Sheriff Caleb Stone is her long-time boyfriend. Their interactions are funny, aggravating or heart-rending. Lalla’s family owns the crop dusting business. Another memorable character is her dad who fights against odds to keep the company going when there are those who'd like to see it go under. If it kills her, Lalla, a woman addicted to danger, won't let them have their way.
The heart of the mystery is Billy Wayne Dobson. He’s obsessed with Lalla. Caleb warns him to stay away from her. But his obsession is too great. Lalla goes to confront him and finds him dying, having been stabbed with scissors. He gasps out some last words. Naturally, feisty Lalla is suspect number one. She determines to find out who killed Billy and why. Take a look at this exchange:
He (Caleb) gave me a piercing look. “Yeah, you. You got that race-horse out-of-the-gate look all over your face.”
“If you will remember, I’m the one who found Billy Wayne, and there are people who expect me to find his killer, namely Detective Rodney.”
“You got something in mind? Never mind. If I don't know, I can’t get in trouble." At my surprised look, he said, "You love this stuff, don’t you?”
Flustered, I sputtered, “Caleb Stone, that’s not fair! What am I supposed to do? He died at my feet and my reputation stays in purgatory until the guilty party is in jail.”
“Deny it all you want, but I know you, you got the bit in your mouth and the chase is on for you, isn’t it?”
I could feel a flush rising up my cheeks. He was right, of course. His words had touched something deep within me and it sounded very much like a starting gun and whinnying race horses. I never felt more alive than when I was this close to touching danger.
“Look,” he said, “you’ve gotten more in one day than we have all week. It’s not a blank check, so don't go overboard and do anything rash; no flashing your fake badge at people."
“But, Caleb…,” I could do without the badge, but it felt good to banter with him again.
“No buts on this.”
R.P. Dahlke (2011-06-05T21:26:50.694000+00:00). A Dead Red Heart (Kindle Locations 1900-1912). Dead Bear Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Posted by Gerrie Ferris Finger
BUY: http://amzn.to/r3imp5

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My guest is Morgen Bailey. The way it works. I ask a few questions and she supplies the answers.

 Welcome my friend - I have to use the old phrase - from across the pond. Tell us about yourself.

I'm the host of Bailey's Writing Tips podcast, two in-person writing groups (based in Northampton, England), author of 100+ short stories, 4.5 novels, articles, poetry, regular Radio Litopia contributor and blog host.*

You are a virtual idea machine. Where do your ideas originate?

It’s what many budding writers want to know (I did) and one of the most dreaded questions by authors at literature festivals (or so some of them have told me). When asked, many say they get their inspiration from life and that’s certainly true for me.

I can spot patterns in rain-splattered pavements as some people make shapes in cloud formations and ideas spring from those. Spam emails are great for character names – as I type this I’m looking at an Orville Potter, Darnell Kendall, Raymundo Dillard and Bernardo Bullock (and Dominoes Pizza and Pharmacy Express!). Newspapers are rich picking – I have a dozen 80-page display books packed with clippings, enough for my lifetime I reckon. Stories are written about true events all the time but look for the quirky, even uneventful ones, and you could be on to a winner. You could also try ‘weird news websites’; a Google (other good search engines are available) search with those three keywords produces 46 million choices – not just rich pickings but obscenely opulent, I’d say.

I understand you run a workship for your writing group. Tell us about it.

Every other Monday night I run a workshop for my writing group and the exercises I set aim to show them how easy it is to get new ideas. Below are some examples:
· Start a story with “As Jackie picked up the bag…”: Is Jackie male or female? Why is he or she picking up the bag? What’s in the bag? How heavy is it? Is it his / hers? Where is he / she? Baggage claims? Leaving home? From just six words (Ernest Hemingway wrote a whole story in just that – For sale: baby shoes, never worn) the possibilities are endless.

· Keywords: we usually work with four or five (http://creativecopychallenge.com offers 10 each time – I wrote a story for http://storyadaymay.org using one set) and an example four could be ‘sold’, ‘grass’, ‘foot’ and ‘stupid’ which could produce a story about a man who thought it was stupid to have a sold sign on the grass outside a football stadium (my group are allowed to increase the word, in this example from foot to football but not shorten, e.g. football to foot) or perhaps it could produce a story about a drug dealer selling ‘grass’ to an old man who felt stupid buying it but it alleviated the pain in his right foot. :)

· They say that a picture paints a thousand words (or thereabouts) but I reckon it speaks more than that. I often give my group magazine photos of ordinary-looking men and women together with a two-column table: left column a list of headings i.e. name, nickname, nationality, age / job, hair colour, height, favourite music, favourite food, regular saying, relationship, children, siblings, religion, aspirations and quirks – then they fill in the blank right-hand column. Regardless of the length of your story, this is a great way of getting to know your characters.

· Another (maybe simpler) prompt I set (and am given at a monthly writing group I belong to) is a single word. I remember using ‘chicken’ fairly early on in the workshop group’s existence and I wrote a story about some young lads daring one of their group to cross a busy road as part of an initiation ceremony, while one of my fellow writers (hello Niall) wrote a non-fiction piece about a memorable childhood chicken dinner.

Whatever we end up writing, you can almost guarantee that we’ll all come up with different stories. We only have 10-15 minutes for each exercise (then read them out and give some critique back) so they’re more often than not just beginnings (some are complete flash fiction) but there’s then a week to progress one or more of them for the following Monday’s critique session, should they wish (they often do).

The thing to remember is that ideas aren’t copyright. I don’t suppose you’d have any takers if you wrote a novel about a boy wizard called Harry (unless it was fan fiction) but there are supposed to only be seven basic plots (although Philip Pullman told us at the April 2011 Lit Fest that he knew there were eleven but sadly didn’t tell us what they were) so there’s likely little chance of your basic plot not having been covered before. You just need to find new characters, locations, dilemmas and ways of telling the story – your ‘voice’.

Using one's voice is always of primary interest to agents and editors. How do you find your voice?

Simple – just keep writing.

Some say plot is secondary to voice and characters. What do you think?

Probably the most written about plot is boy meets girl but there’s an obstacle in their way. West Side Story is a re-telling of Romeo & Juliet and it was also a major plotline in the 2011 film ‘Super 8’ (which I’ve literally just seen today – it was great). With the latter, the main character fell in love with his father’s arch enemy’s daughter and were banned from seeing each other, although you know that by the end of the film (story) they’ll end up together – it’s how you write their journey that will grip your readers.

Yep, it's all in the writing. If only we could find the magic formula.

There’s no magic formula. Just ensure that you always have a notebook and pen /pencil (or two in case one runs out / breaks) and look around you; snatches of conversations at the bus stop, what someone is wearing, how they walk, a normal event that you imagine being extraordinary (you may well have heard of the ‘what if’) and most of all, write. By writing we become practiced and that’s what established authors are. They’ve honed their craft like pianists and athletes do – they don’t hoover when they should be playing / running, they prioritise (often with trainer or manager encouragement – imagine your editor waiting for your submissions – mine was for too long but I’ve just sent her an anthology which she’ll no doubt get through in no time and want more which helps me keep the momentum going) and most important of all, they are doing what they love doing. So what if your house is a little untidy or the mantelpiece could do with having a damp cloth run over it? If you set aside a chunk of time for the mundane (mine’s Monday afternoon before my writing group turn up) but also dedicated writing time, if you’re anything like me (I’m the same with dieting) you’ll wonder why you’ve put it off for so long because you get such a thrill from it.

Now where did I put that bar of chocolate?

Morgen Bailey

A big thanks to you Morgen. Lots of good information in your post.
Morgen has a writing-related blog which, she says, "...just to be original, is called Morgen Bailey's Blog. It features a daily author interview, weekly author spotlights, details of fortnightly podcast red pen sessions and text from the older podcast episodes, useful information such as competitions to enter, other recommended websites and much more.

*If you write (any genre, published or otherwise) and would like to be involved in the blog interviews, author spotlights, red pen sessions or would like to provide a guest blog, do email me.

Submitted by
Gerrie Ferris Finger


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

THE GHOST SHIP - Blending history and fiction

A famous tall ship and an adventurous woman...what they could do for the world

     What if you could go back to 1921 and climb aboard a great five-masted schooner on her maiden voyage?
You’d be a witness to history; you’d be on her decks when her keel smashed into an Outer Banks shoal. You’d get to know the villains who caused the tragedy. Was it pirates, Russians, rumrunners? Or something else?
Would you dare?
Ann Gavrion did and her life was never the same.

One cold, foggy morning in January, 1921, a five-masted schooner in full sail plowed into Diamond Shoal in the infamous Graveyard of the Atlantic. Known to history as The Ghost Ship, her officers and crew were not on board and their bodies never washed ashore. The only living thing on board was a six-toed cat. Also, her anchors and lifeboats were missing. Six agencies investigated the mystery, but it was never solved.

Ninety years later, Ann Gavrion travels to Cape Hatteras to get over the loss of her fiancé in an airplane crash. She meets the enigmatic, yet charming, Lawrence Curator on the beach.
Behind her she hears the cries of villagers. “Shipwreck!”
A surfman runs up and shouts that the missing schooner, her sails set, is aground on the shoal. Ann recognizes the enormous ship from a photograph she’d seen the night before.
So begins her journey back to 1921 with the man the Navy sent to investigate the grounding of the great ship.
When Lawrence and Ann solve the mystery, Ann must return to her world. On the very beach where she’d begun her voyage with Lawrence, she meets his great-grandson, Rod. Exhausted, wet, she spills an account of her fabulous sea adventure. He calls her a charlatan and accuses her of using his famous ancestor to write a first person account of the tragedy for her magazine.
How many times, how many ways, must she prove that her voyage was real to Rod and the unbelievers of the world?

Available at: http://tiny.cc/9hrsy

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE GHOST SHIP hits the - uh - Kindle

...and the Nook.

Used to be we could brag that our books hit the shelves. Not so much any longer. Oh I still have a hard cover publisher, but I've come over to the (used to be) "dark" side of the publishing world. I'm a self-publisher. I've called my new company, Crystal Skull Publishing, and our first edition is THE GHOST SHIP, a paranormal seafaring suspense based on a real ghost ship: The Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals.

I look forward to sharing more with you about this venture.



Sunday, June 26, 2011



Marilyn Levinson is a former Spanish teacher, and the author of several books for children, and young adults. RUFUS, and MAGIC RUN AMOK was selected by the International Reading Association, and the Children’s Book Council for “Children’s Choices for 2002.” NO BOYS ALLOWED has been in print since 1993.

A MURDERER AMONG US is her first published adult mystery. MURDER A LA CHRISTIE was a finalist in the 2010 Malice Domestic contest. She is a member of The Authors Guild, RWA, The Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and is president, and co-founder the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Bernie and their cat, Sammy.

Welcome Marilyn. Tell us about the book and how you promote it.

My mystery, A MURDERER AMONG US, made its debut on June first, and I’ve never been busier!  Years ago, when I wrote YAs and books for kids, I spoke in schools and libraries.  Even did the occasional book store signing.  But an author’s life these days is something else entirely.

Keeping an updated website is essential.  So is blogging, commenting on fellow writers’ blogs, tweeting on Twitter, and “liking” on Facebook.  I’ve learned to design a business card, I’ve struggled to create a bookmark, attend conferences and conventions, and do all I can to get my book in the public eye.  This is especially important because A MURDERER AMONG US is an ebook and available in print as a POD.

A bit about my novel:  Lydia Krause has moved to Twin Lakes, an upscale retirement community on Long Island, to start a new life.  Her neighbor introduces her to Marshall Weill, the community’s financial advisor, whom Lydia recognizes as the convicted embezzler who drove her sister to suicide.  She exchanges heated words with Weill’s wife. The woman’s found dead the following morning, mowed down by Lydia’s Lexus.  Now Suspect Number One, Lydia investigates.  Amid threats and more deaths, Lydia forges new friendships, helps resolve her grown daughters’ problems, and finds romance.

A MURDERER AMONG US is available at Wingsepress.com.  Click on:
It will soon be available on Amazon.com, Kindle, and Fictionwise.com

Thank you Marilyn for an informative look at your work. Sounds quite exciting.


THE GHOST SHIP, June 28, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011


       With the demands on a published author - and for that matter an unpublished writer looking to get published - to brand and promote oneself, the serious question arises: when do I have time to write?

I can't begin to name all the social and professional networks I belong to that give me a web presence, including writing blogs like this one, but I will list a few. Twitter and Facebook, of course, KindleBoards, Goodreads, Shelfari, LinkedIn, Red Room, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America; then there are the listservs like DorothyL. I've been on and off DL for ten years. Like me, book people come and go.

I don't know how many readers I've acquired through the listservs and groups like Murder Must Advertise, but I get a lot of good information and I conduct free book drawings from time to time.  It's a way to stay connected with the reading and writing community, not just for sales but to interact with friends I've met online and in person.

So, when do I write?

On weekday afternoons unless on a tight deadline. There are so many things to take care of in the morning - housewifey stuff, returning put-off calls from yesterday, reading and answering emails - that I've designated morning as taking-care-of-business time.

At one o'clock (if I'm not playing golf), I write until five with necessary breaks - for me and Bogey, the demanding standard poodle who adorns my book covers.

 Unless for research, I don't crawl the net or answer the telephone. I research, edit, write. Period.

About golf. I play on Saturday and Sunday - again, unless on a tight deadline. One day during the week, I play and usually I'm finished and back at my desk by one-thirty. Two at the latest. Then I extend my work day until six o'clock.

Writing is a demanding master (aka self-flagellation), but publication is vindication for the blood and toil. Then I have to address an even more demanding master: promotion.

Gerrie Ferris Finger
THE GHOST SHIP  released 2011


Thursday, June 16, 2011


Amazon.com Names America’s Most Well-Read Cities

Is it any wonder that Cambridge, Massachusetts, which Harvard University calls home, topped Amazon.com’s recent listing of the Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America?

I lived in Cambridge eons ago. Residents walked along streets reading books, book stores - be they large retail outlets or mom and pop resellits - on nearly every block, citizens in the parks reading magazines or best sellers, riders of MBTA missing their stops while engrossed in Follett or Oates. Add the Kindle and residents are now ordering more books, magazines and newspapers in print and Kindle formats. The survey began Jan. 1, 2011 and was based on cities with more than 100,000 residents. Cambridge residents also ordered the highest number of nonfiction books.

The Amazon.com top 20 list:

1. Cambridge, Massachusetts
2. Alexandria, Virginia
3. Berkeley, California
4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
5. Boulder, Colorado
6. Miami, Florida
7. Salt Lake City, Utah
8. Gainesville, Florida
9. Seattle, Washington
10. Arlington, Virginia
11. Knoxville, Tennessee
12. Orlando, Florida
13. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
14. Washington, D.C.
15. Bellevue, Washington
16. Columbia, South Carolina
17. St. Louis, Missouri
18. Cincinnati, Ohio
19. Portland, Oregon
20. Atlanta, Georgia

Happy to see Atlanta, my adopted home of many decades ago, sneak onto the list. St. Louis, my birth place, came in 17.
Echoing results from Sisters in Crime’s recent Mystery Book Buyer Study, nearly half of the cities on the Amazon.com list are located below the Mason-Dixon line.

The Washington, D.C. area includes three of the top 20 cities – Alexandria, Va. (#2), Arlington, Va. (#10) and Washington itself (#14). Alexandria residents also topped the list of buyers of children’s books.

The sunshine state, Florida, has three cities in the top 20 – Miami (#6), Gainesville (#8) and Orlando (#12).

“We hope book lovers across the country enjoy this fun look at where the most voracious readers reside,” said Mari Malcolm, managing editor of Books at Amazon.com.

Submitted by
Gerrie Ferris Finger


Saturday, May 7, 2011

HAPPY KENTUCKY DERBY DAY - and a tip of the hard hat to Dick Francis

I grew up riding horses and have a fractured L4 because of my daring-do jumping skills. Throw in a little arthritis on creaky days and there goes my golf game.
All that to admit I loved reading Dick Francis after mucking out the stable. ;-D
In honor of KDD, I'm reading NERVE about a jockey who seems to have lost his nerve. OR, could it be someone is sabotaging him through his mounts?
From 1953 to 1957 Francis was jockey to Queen Elizabeth's Queen Mother. He retired after he rode Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National race. The horse fell near the finish line. Francis wrote over 40 international best sellers before he died on February 14, 2010.

His work lives on because of his collaboration with youngest son, Felix Francis, a physics teacher who retired to research for his father and now continues the horse racing series.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Friday, April 1, 2011


What would Agatha Christie say about Disney's plan to reinvent Miss Marple as a younger sleuth, played with an audacity that Miss Marple, that all-seeing, all-suspecting spinster of St. Mary Mead never had?

We can infer by her own words when Margaret Rutherford was cast as Miss Marple:

"Why don't they just invent a new character? Then they can have their cheap fun and leave me and my creation alone?"

Well said, Agatha.

Gerrie Ferris Finger


THE LAST TEMPTATION release date 2012

Sunday, March 13, 2011



Find out why her food testers celebrate these all-too-often occasions in Stir, Laugh, Repeat. Following her passion for cooking and in hot pursuit of just the right taste, Martha Cheves composed one hundred recipes for cooks of all ages that are sure to satiate appetites of any kind. Try her quick and easy bacon, egg, and cheese mini pies for breakfast; rabbit food sandwich for a healthy, take-to-the-office lunch; mustard pork chops for a zesty twist that still satisfies the meat and potato man; and whip up her renown banana puddin as a sweet end to a satisfying day. Sprinkled amongst timeless southern dishes are practical tips to help any beginner baker cook like a pro while learning from Marthas tales of kitchen woes. Feast on Stir, Laugh, Repeat today and let your experimental imagination sizzle with delight as you try your hand at Marthas suggested variations. - Amazon

Martha says:
I've always loved to cook and used to dream of opening my own restaurant. But, as time went on and I got older that dream just didn't seem to be in the cards. Instead I wrote a cookbook. This idea came to me when my youngest daughter told me she couldn't bring deviled eggs to Thanksgiving dinner because she couldn't peel them without tearing them up.

Through the promotion of Stir, Laugh, Repeat I've had the pleasure of meeting some really wonderful Authors. Since I love to read as much as I love to cook I decided to create a site that would bring the readers and cooks together. Before accepting a book to review I tell the Authors the cost... One of Their Favorite Recipes. Thus was the creation of my site A Book and A Dish. I've had the pleasure of reading some really great books plus find out what the authors enjoy eating/cooking.


I am happy to be one of those authors on her entertaining blog.


Gerrie Ferris Finger

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Don't know how long it will be around, but warm weather has returned to the South, where, in my opinion, it's not supposed to leave. At all. Ever.
I played golf with friends yesterday and I felt like a daisy opening my face to the sun after being under a florist blanket for two months.
Does this mean a romp in the surf is imminent? Probably not. While the air temps are in the '70s, the water is still a frigid 50 degrees. The surfer boys don't seem to mind, but I'll stay close to shore. There's sharks and rays in them thar waters, too.
While I whiled away the winter editing my second in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series titled The Last Temptation, and doing online promotion and writing another in the series, I also read several novels.
I just finished John Connolly's Every Dead Thing, published in 2000.
I like to start a series with the first, and this was his debut. I'd read about him and his gory thrillers, but had not begun one because they're long and I don't have days to finish a book. Writers must writer. I learned the hard way with Tana French's In the Woods that these complicated plots take up your undivided attention, at least my undivided attention. Go a day, and you have to retreat into past pages to figure out the characters again. In Connolly's book, there are many. At one point it seemed everyone except Bird Parker, the hero, had been killed.
I liked the beginning. I've seen so many CSIs, Criminal Minds, etc. that really icky murder scenes like the one that begins this story, don't bother me.
Yep, he's a master of piling gore on gore: one serial killer tortures children and another steals victims' faces after mutilating their bodies. If you're squeamish, if sicko depictions give you nightmares or threatens your meal, skip it.
With exceptions, long thrillers get bogged down and become tedious. Also, I figured out the serial killers before Parker, not a good thing.
I finished the book, and, maybe will read another Connolly, but I'll wait for a long, cold and rainy spell, or when a ten-hour trip occurs.

Gerrie Ferris Finger
THE END GAME (not a long thriller, no dead children and no missing faces)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sara-Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later. It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream. Her first novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN, was published as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. in 2010 (link to book: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_71&products_id=288&zenid=g2s7ehfv228vutultsruf8kv17).

Her next book, DEATH SCENE, is the first in a series about amateur sleuth and Canadian actress Shara Summers, and will be released as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. later this year.

You can learn more about Sara and her writing at her website at http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/ and her blog at http://sayssara.wordpress.com/.

My interest in crime fiction started a long time ago – in childhood, in fact. My introduction to Mystery Stories began with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, which I devoured as a child. One of the things I loved about those books was that there was always a mystery to solve – usually suspicious goings-on involving smugglers or some generic unsavoury member of the working-class. I loved following the actions of the story’s young heroes as they followed the clues and worked out who the villain was. As an adolescent, I moved on to Agatha Christie. Whatever else is said about Mrs Christie, there’s no doubt she was mistress of the classic “whodunit.” It was all about setting up the cast of characters, and planting the clues. The observant reader could pick up the clues and work out who the villain was before the detective.

And for me, the fun in crime fiction is the thrill of the chase. The genre has evolved somewhat since Mrs Christie’s day. Nowadays, there are many sub-divisions – crime thriller; police procedural; historical crime; romantic crime; ‘cozy’ crime; ‘hard-boiled’ crime – to name just a few. Sometimes novels are not so much “whodunits” as “howcatchems” – where we know from the start who the murderer is, and the plot involves how they will be caught. To me, it’s still all about the chase, whether it be following the clues to discover the identity of the villain, or casting out the net until the bad guy is reeled in.

I am fondest of novels featuring strong female protagonists. Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton and Linda Fairstein are among my favourite crime writers. Historical fiction was always less appealing for me because there used to be a lack of strong female characters. This isn’t the case nowadays, however – there are some excellent female protagonists in historical crime. One of my favourite series is “The Mistress of the Art of Death” by Ariana Franklin – who is sadly no longer with us.

Ultimately, through all the sub-genres of crime, a common thread holds them together. There is a victim, and a killer. The exciting part is following the chase, through to the end of the novel when the killer must be a) revealed and b) caught.

I always say the common thread between crime and horror – the other genre I write in – is that someone has to die horribly. I will read other genres, but ultimately if there’s no gruesome death, a book is unlikely to hold my attention. I dip into other genres here and there – science fiction; urban fantasy; classics. But crime is the genre I always get drawn back to. Picking up the latest novel by one of my favourite crime novelists is like visiting an old friend I’ve not seen for a while. It’s always a pleasure to go back there, and I know I’ll be made welcome, no matter how long I’ve been away.


More grim news from the world of books.

Powell's Books canned thirty-one staffers at its stores in Burnside and Beaverton and two industrial warehouses, a move they cite because of an "unprecedented, rapidly changing nature of the book industry... (and) changing consumer behavior". Which means that consumers are buying ebooks. They are cheaper for the most part than trade, pocket or hardbacks.

What does this mean for hard cover writers? I had five events in a four-day period at Barnes & Noble after THE END GAME came out. It was my first hard cover. The cost at B&N is $24.99. At Amazon it fluctuates from $18.00 to $11.00 (when the supplies get low). In a weak economy, consumers are not plunking down the big prices, instead are going for the trades (large paperbacks) or ebooks. More and more book buyers are opting for the ereader and the cheap books that Amazon prices lower than other online ebook sellers.

A Powell spokesman said they are losing sales to electronic books and expect to continue to do so for the next couple of years.

When I was signing at Barnes & Noble, many people went away with signed bookmarks, saying they were going to buy the ebook online. B&N sells ebooks through its Nook ereader.

Even though I have four ebooks available, I don't own an ereader. (I know how the story ends.) Probably will one day, but I'm old-fashioned and hope Powell's gets a clue and can hire back its staff.

Nothing like a bent binding and tattered jacket cover.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Monday, February 7, 2011

Local Mystery Festivals

I like mystery festivals and conventions that are close to my home on the east coast. I've become a regular at the Malice Domestic Fan Convention in Crystal City, near D. C. This year it's in Bethesda, Md.
I don't like to fly, particularly now that seats are getting smaller and overhangs nearly touch my head. I'm claustrophobic that way, and passengers and flight attendants do not need to deal with the possibility of me running down the aisle screaming in panic. Used to be, you could drink your way to your destination and feel no fear. Not so today.
That means I didn't to San Francisco, a city I love, for Bouchercon in September. It's the grandest mystery writer/reader convention, but I'm sticking to the eastern part of the U. S.
So, I signed up to attend, and be part of, the Cape Fear Crime Festival as a panelist.
the Cape Fear Crime Festival returned to Wilmington, North Carolina. Murder and mayhem came to Northeast Branch of the New Hanover County Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington, NC 28405. I got to meet new writers, librarians and readers.
I plan to attend another local event, but not sure which one. Maybe Nashville. Also, will go to Bouchercon in St. Louis in September.


Sunday, February 6, 2011


I met Kaye Barley on DorothyL, a writer, reader, librarian listserv several years ago. When I learned that she worked in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, I knew where the intelligent, generous and happy threads of her DNA were strengthened.

She is a writer's best friend, and she hosts a fabulous blog where her guest list is one of the most extensive in the writing community. It is my privilege to appear today, but while you're at Meanderings and Muses, meander on through her blog and check out her retirement party and other interesting guest posters.

Kaye said:
"My latest guest at Meanderings and Muses is our own Gerrie Ferris Finger. Gerrie wrote THE END GAME, which was on my "Best Of" list this past year (and Ihope she's busy working on the next in the series!). Drop by, please, for a fun look at tattoos and what they mean."


Thanks, Kaye, for honoring me and my debut novel on your "Best Of" list.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WHEN SERPENTS DIE, a Long and Short Review

When Serpents Die: Laura Kate Plantation Series Book I
Author: Gerrie Ferris
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (171 pages)
Heat: SensualRating: 5
Reviewed by Stephantois

Laura Kate O'Connell left her life of excitement as an overseas news correspondent to return to her Georgia hometown to raise her two young cousins. When Royce Lee, Laura Kate's attorney, supposedly commits suicide, too many pieces of evidence tell a different story. Her instincts as an investigative reporting are tingling, and she just can't leave it alone.
She meets Jack Rhodes, Royce's business partner. Sparks fly, but can she really trust a man she knows nothing about? And why is it that every time something new develops in the case, he seems to be there? Warnings to back off escalate to an attempt on her life. Now, for Laura Kate, it's more than just a mystery.
Depending on Jack might be a mistake, but if Laura Kate can get past his southern charms and the nervous way Jack makes her feel, she may get the facts, solve the case, and even save her own life.
I really enjoyed this book. I love a good mystery and this one didn’t disappoint me in any way. Laura Kate is a great sleuth. Every character jumps off the page. The dialogue sounds so natural it’s almost as if you’re overhearing a conversation. And the southern setting of this book added to the enjoyment. The smells, the manners of the South all added wonderful colorful layers to the plot.
There are the essential quirky characters, the red herring, and there’s even a trial going on in town while Laura’s trying to figure out if Royce took his own life.
Laura Kate is a series character and Ferris does a first class job of laying in back story and not giving away too much too soon. All the characters were likely suspects, there were twist and turns I didn’t see coming and it was a pleasure to read.
Ferris also added some romantic suspense elements into the mix by introducing Jack as a possible love interest for Laura. I can’t wait to see what happens between these two in the next book of the series. And for that matter, read more of Ferris’ work.If you like a good mystery with a cast of colorful characters, put this one on your must read list.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paraprosdokian sentences

A figure of speech that uses an unexpected ending to a series or a phrase, for example:

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career -- turns out I just wanted paychecks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money...if you can prove that you don't need it.

I didn't say it was your fault...I said I was blaming you.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it...so I said "Implants?"

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet?

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?

Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

The voices in my head may not be real but they have some good ideas!

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home even if you wish they were.

Money can't buy happiness but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

I always take life with a grain of salt,...plus a slice of lemon and a shot of tequila.

When tempted to fight fire with fire remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

To be sure of hitting the target shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes why do some people have more than one child?

Change is inevitable...except from a vending machine.

Monday, January 10, 2011


My editor at St. Martin's Minotaur passed away January 10, 2011 at the age of 92. She was 90 years of age when she chose my novel, THE END GAME, to win the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery.

This essay is a reprint I wrote for Julie Lomoe's Blog.

I wrote my first novel before I began my newspaper career, right after I got out of college, while I was babysitting my two children. It was a war novel – hey, why not start with something you know everything about, right? It's a good thing I love to research.

I sent it off to an agent friend, a classmate in college. He told me it was hard to believe a woman wrote the book, and that if he sold it, I should use initials so buyers would think I was a man. Then he gave me friendly advice. He said I should write women's non-fiction like the stuff in "Cosmopolitan". Sex positions was going to propel me to the top of the Best Seller List.

I went to work for a newspaper instead. After twenty years as a writer, editor and columnist, I retired to write novels in earnest. Like most journalists, I had a few manuscript starts, but never finished them. My first effort was a mystery overlaid with romance. I didn't consider genre when writing the manuscript. I just wanted to tell a story, sell it to a publisher and have a large reading audience. I hired an agent and wrote four books in what she called the romantic suspense genre, before she told me romantic suspense wasn't selling well.

So okay, let's do something else. I created Moriah Dru, a former cop turned child finder. Already in love with a detective, Dru wouldn't be drifting into romance. My agent didn't like The End Game, because she didn't like the heroine. Dru had too much angst. After three years, my agent and I parted, and I sent The End Game to large independent publishers (of which there are few) and got requests for the "full" manuscript from all. I wrote the second book while waiting for offers that didn't come.

I entered The End Game into the Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Minotaur competition for Best First Traditional Mystery novel and started another mystery series. I'd forgotten about the Minotaur contest. Who wins contests anyway? Then my contest reader called to tell me she'd sent the novel on to St. Martin's. The process starts with readers who receive manuscripts from all over the country. They chooses the best in their estimation and send them to St. Martin's.

A couple months went by, and I "got the call" from Ruth Cavin. I was working on a straight romance and almost let the phone ring. Instead, I said "Hello".

I swear my heart stopped beating as I listened to her words that went something like: "This is Ruth Cavin with St. Martin's. I'm calling to tell you that your novel won the St. Martin's contest. Congratulations."

It couldn't be any of my joker friends. They didn't know I'd entered the contest. My husband didn't know.

My mouth was open and dried-out when I stuttered, "You're kidding?"

She laughed and said, "I had some wonderful manuscripts to choose from, but I thought yours was just the best." Just the best. Her wonderful voice still resounds in my head.

When I told my husband I was going to be published by a big New York house, he said, "At last!"

Thank you Julie for letting me relive that call on your wonderful blog.
Gerrie Ferris Finger

Sunday, January 2, 2011


In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates and doors and openings; a god of beginnings and endings. It has roots in the word janitor which means a gatekeeper.

Janus is portray with two faces, one facing forward, one backward.

In January, the Sun returns and the days grow longer, marking the start of a new year. However, in Roman Times, the new year began in March, which is why September (seventh month), October (8), November and December seemed oddly placed in the calendar.

In myth, Janus was the patron of concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, i.e. religion, the gods, human life. He symbolized change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one universe to another.

In time of war 'The Janus' (gates/doors) were kept open after a contingent of soldiers had marched through it. The doors were closed at the conclusion of peace. Augustus and Nero declared peace and closed the doors of the Janus during their reigns.

Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, deaths and other beginnings.

Now you know.
Happy January.
Researched from internet encyclopedias

Gerrie Ferris Finger