Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Wendall Thomas. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Wendall Thomas. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Guest Blogger Wendall Thomas

Wendall

Type M is beyond thrilled to welcome guest blogger Wendall Thomas to our little family this weekend. Besides authoring one of the most witty, entertaining series out there, featuring a wildly appealing, hilarious protagonist, travel agent Cyd Redondo, Wendall  teaches in the Graduate Film School at UCLA, lectures internationally on screenwriting, and has worked as an entertainment reporter, development executive, script consultant, and film and television writer. Her first Cyd Redondo novel, Lost Luggage, was nominated for the Lefty and Macavity Awards for Best Debut Mystery of 2017. Her second, Drowned Under, has been nominated for a Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery of 2019 and an Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original.  Her short fiction appears in the crime anthologies Ladies Night (2015), Last Resort (2017), and the Anthony nominated Murder-A-Go-Go’s (2019).  Her third Cyd Redondo mystery, Fogged Off will drop on November 2, and is available now for pre-order.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

 by Wendall Thomas


I’m delighted to be here, where so many authors I love share their secrets. Thanks very much, Donis, for having me.

Travel has always been my passion. And now as someone who writes about a travel agent, it’s also my business.

As a kid, I traveled vicariously through books like Lost Horizons, David Copperfield, Mrs. Mike, The Three Musketeers, The Jungle Book, and my parents’ copies of Dorothy Gilmour’s Mrs. Pollifax novels. As my reading became a bit more sophisticated, I headed to China in The Good Earth, Russia in Dr. Zhivago, and Southeast Asia with Grahame Green. 

Our family vacations were domestic, but still thrilling to me—Silver Springs and St. Augustine, the Smithsonian, Myrtle Beach, the Smoky Mountains. So, by the time I finished high school, I was ready to hit the road and go as far, and as often, as I could. During my college summers, I waited tables and sang in bars on Nantucket, in Estes Park, Colorado, in Berkeley, in the Keys, and once I graduated, I headed to Montreal, London, Paris, Ireland, Holland, Italy, and eventually, Australia and New Zealand. 

Every one of those books and all of those places moved me and influenced the way I look at the world. So, when I thought I might try writing a mystery series, I figured it would be great if the research involved travel—preferably international. When I created Cyd Redondo, a travel agent who had never been farther than New Jersey, it let me relive the wonder and panic of everything involved in navigating a different culture in an unfamiliar place. 

As a writing teacher I’ve always been fascinated by where my students’ stories start. Is it with a concept, with a character’s voice, with a theme, with a scene? I think it depends on the writer and the project and personally, as a screenwriter, my projects had usually started with a character or concept. This time, I had the skeleton for my “fish out of water” protagonist—but before I could really start developing her character and working out the story/mystery, I had to pick her destination. 

I wanted the series to be an homage to films like Romancing the Stone, Charade, or Bringing Up Baby, where the characters were off-balance and completely out of their comfort zones. Since Paris, South America, and Connecticut were already taken by those films, I needed someplace new. I thought about Cyd’s home in Brooklyn and what might be the most extreme opposite, a place she’d have the biggest learning curve. 

I suddenly had an image of her in the middle of a jungle clearing, in four-inch heels. She was wearing multi-colored bracelets from her wrist to her elbow, and, when a man with a gun appeared, she disarmed him with a whack from her bangled forearm while a leopard looked on. It felt like Africa. I started to research crimes on the continent and was shocked by the extent and horror of the endangered animal smuggling and poaching trade. Cyd, with her snakeskin shoes and tortoise shell barrettes, was not concerned about this issue—yet—so it allowed her an environmental learning curve, and let me place a Madagascan chameleon in her purse. So, once I had a location, everything in the book sprang from there. 

Now that the series is up and running and I have a handle on Cyd, her family, and her natural habitat, the “where” is always where I start. Until I know where she’s going, I can’t really decide on the crimes, the secondary characters, the ways her character will be challenged, or what she has in her background—and her purse—that might help her survive. Location is everything.

I was lucky in the Australian setting for Drowned Under—I had been to and loved Tasmania, the home of the “functionally extinct” Tasmanian tiger. So, it was easy to find the “endangered” piece of the adventure. Once I decided it would be a cruise ship book, that gave me my world and inspired my secondary characters, and I was off.

Wendall in London

For my newest book, Fogged Off, out November 2nd, I got lucky again. By the time Covid hit, I had already decided to set the book in London, where I’d been a frequent visitor over the years. I’m also married to an Englishman I met on one of my trips, so I could see, taste, smell—and discuss—the city from the desk in my bedroom. 

As always, the place generated the content. The book is set in world of London Walking Tours where Cyd’s client—a Jack the Ripper expert—winds up dead. Then I researched endangered animals in the UK and, since Carl Hiassen had already taken voles, my first choice, I settled on the hilarious hazel dormouse as the animal in danger of extinction. Everything else came from there.

Bruce, the hazel dormouse

Right now, because it’s still not clear when and where we’ll be able to travel again, I’ve chosen a location where several friends have lived. Because I’m lucky yet again, that happens to be Bali. I definitely want to travel there, but just in case I’m still marooned in my apartment as the deadline approaches, they can help me add details that research alone can’t supply. After that, I’m thinking about Macao, or maybe Greece. . .

So here’s hoping that we will all get the chance to explore the unknown from somewhere other than our couches soon, but if not, books will be there to get us through.

_________

Visit Wendall at her website, www.wendallthomas.com

and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EWendallThomas

Click here to pre-order Fogged Off on Amazon



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Book Suggestions 2020

 

I join with Rick and everyone else here at Type M in encouraging you all to support your local independent bookstores. If you’re in the United States or Canada, you can find one near you by going to Indie Bound’s store finder at https://www.indiebound.org/indie-store-finder.

It’s a little early for my reading wrap-up for 2020, but I thought I’d give you some book recommendations for those readers on your Christmas list. There are so many good books, it’s hard to pick which ones to recommend. I went through the books I’ve read so far this year and picked some favorites. Besides purchasing books by the authors here at Type M, here are my suggestions:

Cozy Mystery: 

There are a lot of good cozies out there. I’ve recently read and enjoyed the Nick and Nora Mystery series by T.C. LoTempio. It’s a three book series, Meow If It’s Murder, Claws For Alarm and Crime and Catnip. Nora Charles is a former investigative/crime reporter from Chicago who moves to California when she inherits her mother’s sandwich shop. Nick is a tuxedo cat, formerly owned by a missing private investigator, who adopts her.

The Alaskan Diner mystery series by Elizabeth Logan aka Camille Minichino. The first book in this series, Mousse and Murder, came out earlier this year. The second, Fishing for Trouble, was released a month ago. An enjoyable series set in an interesting state. You can’t go wrong with any book that Elizabeth/Camille/... writes. (She writes under a lot of different names.)

The Movie Palace series by Margaret Dumas. These are just delightful reads. There’s a ghost, an old movie palace and murder. What more can you ask for? Books in the series are Murder at the Palace, Murder in the Balcony, Murder on the Silver Screen.

Humorous Mystery:

Lost Luggage by Wendall Thomas. This is the first book in the Cyd Redondo series, a mystery filled with adventure and humor. Cyd is my kind of gal: positive, resourceful and prepared for anything. A top-notch travel agent who knows everything about the places she sends people, only she’s never traveled anywhere herself. When she wins a trip to Tanzania, it turns out not to be the vacation that she’d hoped for.

Non-fiction:

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo. This is a fascinating read about an event that I didn’t know about until I listened to a History Channel podcast. It referenced this book, so I had to get myself a copy. Well worth reading.

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman. I’ve always been fascinated by accounts of art theft. This memoir is a very interesting account of some of the many cases this FBI agent worked on over the years. 

The Ravenmaster: My Life With the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife. The author is the current Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. He talks about what it’s like to take care of these birds and also about the history of ravens at the tower.

Speculative fiction:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, first book in the Thursday Next series. These books have been around for a while, but I recently re-read this one. It’s set in Great Britain in 1985 in an alternate reality where the Crimean War still rages on, time travel and cloning are reality, and literature is taken very, very seriously. Thursday is a literary detective for Spec-Ops. There are 7 books in this series. This is my favorite. Fforde also has a website that talks about Thursday and her world: http://www.jasperfforde.com/thursdayintro.html

Middle Grade:

I enjoy reading a lot of Middle Grade novels. There's a lot of really fun books out there.This year I enjoyed these in particular: 

Greystone Secrets by Margaret Peterson Haddix. There are two books in this series so far with another coming out in 2021. In the first one, The Strangers, the Greystone kids, Chess, Emma and Finn, discover that they aren’t who they think they are when three kids with remarkably similar names and ages are kidnapped. These books are filled with mystery and adventure. 

The Last Musketeer series by Stuart Gibbs is a fun swash-buckling, time travel adventure. There are three books in the series, which should be read in order. I listened to the audio versions of the last two, read by Ramon de Ocampo. de Ocampo does a terrific job as narrator, making it even more exciting.

Those are my suggestions. What about yours?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Tell Me Your Story

 Since I seem to be at something of an impasse lately, I've decided that if I can't make headway with my own writing career, the least I can do is support my fellow authors the best way I can. On my own site I've been doing giveaways at the first of every month – physical copies only. Thus far I've only offered my own books, but I'll be expanding to other authors soon. I've volunteered to help with ZOOM panels at an upcoming writers conference. (Torture. I'm not fond of ZOOM conferences.  But needs must.)

Over the many years I've been writing and reading, I've been fascinated by other authors – their process, where the ideas come from, but especially their journeys – why they decided to start writing, what keeps them going, what keeps them writing in the face of the inevitable difficulties of life. 

In June, 2021, I began hosting  on my website a monthly series of author essays called Tell Me Your Story, inviting successful authors to share their life experiences and how those experiences have influenced their writing. Thus far my guests have included handwriting expert Sheila Lowe, whose life view changed forever when her daughter was murdered; Pricilla Royal, who recently took a leap of faith with her long-running historical mystery series; Mariah Frederickson, who was born with a speech impediment that has informed her whole life and world view, and our own dear friend Hannah Dennison, an Englishwoman who spent 25 years in the U.S., then made the hard decision to move back home—and what boost to her life and career that decision turned out to be! She discovered you can go home again. In October I'll be hosting Wendall Thomas, who will be our guest here on Type M this coming weekend, and I've lined up Karen Odden to tell me her story in November. I'm filled with admiration at how frank these women have been. It just goes to show that perseverance is all, and I don't feel quite as hopeless about my own difficulties.Visit  these brave authors as they share their intimate stories on the 20th of every month at  http://www.doniscasey.com 

p.s. If you've got the cajones to tell your own story, or know an author whose story must be told, contact me. I really want to share it. Someone out there need to hear it.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Award Nominees

 

A lot of mystery award nominations have come out in the last few weeks. I usually scan the names and titles when the nominations first come out to see if (a) I know any of the authors and (b) if I’ve read any of the books. It’s also a good way for me to find out about possible books to read, particularly in the children’s categories. Here are the Lefty, Agatha and Edgar award nominees all in one place. 

LEFTYS

 Leftys are fan awards chosen by registered attendees of Left Coast Crime. Nominations are made by registered attendees of this convention and the immediately previous convention. They will be given out this year during LCC in Albuquerque, NM April 7-10. According to the LCC website “To be eligible for the 2022 Lefty Awards, titles must have been published for the first time in the United States or Canada during 2021, in book or ebook format.”

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel 

Ellen Byron, Cajun Kiss of Death (Crooked Lane Books)
Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code (Berkley Prime Crime)
Elle Cosimano, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Minotaur Books)
Cynthia Kuhn, How To Book a Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Raquel V. Reyes, Mango, Mambo, and Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Wendall Thomas, Fogged Off (Beyond the Page Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970

Susanna Calkins, The Cry of the Hangman (Severn House) °
John Copenhaver, The Savage Kind (Pegasus Crime)
Naomi Hirahara, Clark and Division (Soho Crime)
Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince (Soho Crime)
Catriona McPherson, The Mirror Dance (Hodder & Stoughton)
Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway (William Morrow) 

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel

Alexandra Andrews, Who Is Maud Dixon (Little, Brown and Company)
Marco Carocari, Blackout (Level Best Books)
Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl (Atria Books)
Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo (Berkley Prime Crime)
Wanda M. Morris, All Her Little Secrets (William Morrow) 

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel

Tracy Clark, Runner (Kensington Books)
S.A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears (Flatiron Press)
Matt Coyle, Last Redemption (Oceanview Publishing)
William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike (Atria Books)
P.J. Vernon, Bath Haus (Doubleday)

AGATHA AWARDS

Agatha Awards celebrate the traditional mystery. They are nominated by and voted on by attendees of Malice Domestic. They will be voted on and awarded at Malice in Bethesda, MD April 22-24.

Best Contemporary Novel 

Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Watch Her by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books) 

Best Historical Novel

Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
Death at Greenway
by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins) 
The Devil's Music
by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best First Novel 

The Turncoat's Widow by Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
A Dead Man's Eyes by Lori Duffy Foster (Level Best Books)
Arsenic and Adobo
by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
Murder in the Master
by Judy L. Murray (Level Best Books)
Mango, Mambo, and Murder
by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books) 

Best Short Story 

"A Family Matter" by Barb Goffman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2021)
"A Tale of Two Sisters" by Barb Goffman in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
"Doc's at Midnight" by Richie Narvaez in Midnight Hour (Crooked Lane Books)
"The Locked Room Library" by Gigi Pandian (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July/Aug 2021)
"Bay of Reckoning" by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
 

Best Non-Fiction

The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice by Jan Brogan (Bright Leaf Press)
Murder Most Grotesque: The Comedic Crime Fiction of Joyce Porter by Chris Chan (Level Best Books)
The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanaugh (Atlantic Monthly Press)
How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster) 

Best Children's/YA Mystery

Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Fiewel and Friends/Macmillan)
I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)
Leisha's Song by Lynn Slaughter (Fire and Ice/Melange Books)
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books) 

EDGAR AWARDS

Edgar Awards are peer awards given out by Mystery Writers of America. Nominations are done by volunteer committees of professional writers. They will be given out April 28, 2022 during a ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.

Best Novel

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Macmillan Publishers – Flatiron Books)
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)
How Lucky by Will Leitch (HarperCollins – Harper)
No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield (HarperCollins – William Morrow) 

Best First Novel By An American Author

 Deer Season by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press)
Never Saw Me Coming
by Vera Kurian (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Park Row)
Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (Penguin Random House – Riverhead Books)
The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (Penguin Random House – Viking Books/Pamela Dorman Books)

Best Paperback Original

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory (Tom Doherty Associates – Tordotcom)
Starr Sign by C.S. O’Cinneide (Dundurn Press)
Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books) 

Best Fact Crime

The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (Random House Publishing Group – Random House)
Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (Celadon Books)
Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster)
Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan (Penguin Random House – Random House)
The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade by Benjamin T. Smith (W.W. Norton & Company)
When Evil Lived in Laurel: The “White Knights” and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer by Curtis Wilkie (W.W. Norton & Company

Best Critical/Biographical

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360)
The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (W.W. Norton & Company)
Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma Press)
The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White (W.W. Norton & Company) 

 Best Short Story

“Blindsided,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Michael Bracken & James A. Hearn (Dell Magazines)
“The Vermeer Conspiracy,” Midnight Hour by V.M. Burns (Crooked Lane Books)
“Lucky Thirteen,” Midnight Hour by Tracy Clark (Crooked Lane Books)
“The Road to Hana,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by R.T. Lawton (Dell Magazines)
“The Locked Room Library,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Gigi Pandian (Dell Magazines)
“The Dark Oblivion,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Cornell Woolrich (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile

Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers)
Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden
by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)
Kidnap on the California Comet: Adventures on Trains #2 by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic – Scholastic Press) 

Best Young Adult

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins – Quill Tree Books)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)\

Best Television Episode Teleplay

“Dog Day Morning” – The Brokenwood Mysteries, Written by Tim Balme and Nic Sampson (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Beast Must Die, Written by Gaby Chiappe (AMC+)
“We Men Are Wretched Things” – The North Water Written by Andrew Haigh (AMC+)
“Happy Families” – Midsomer Murders, Written by Nicholas Hicks-Beach (Acorn TV)
“Boots on the Ground” – Narcos: Mexico, Written by Iturri Sosa (Netflix)
 

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award

“Analogue,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Rob Osler (Dell Magazines) 

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award

The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley (Tule Publishing – Tule Mystery)
Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner (Crooked Lane Books)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton (Crooked Lane Books)
Chapter and Curse
by Elizabeth Penney (St. Martin’s Paperbacks) 

The G.P. Putnam's Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award

Double Take by Elizabeth Breck (Crooked Lane Books)
Runner
by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Shadow Hill by Thomas Kies (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Family Business
by S.J. Rozan (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)

SPECIAL AWARDS

Grand Master-  Laurie R. King
Raven Award -  Lesa Holstine – Lesa’s Book Critiques; Library Journal Reviewer
Ellery Queen Award - Juliet Grames – Soho Press – Soho Crime