A Year of Reading the World: A Q&A with Ann Morgan

Kathy Waller:

An Interview with Ann Morgan, who read and blogged about literature from nearly 200 countries, and then wrote a book about the experience.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Several years ago, writer Ann Morgan noticed that she didn’t read much literature from countries outside of the United Kingdom and United States — and had yet to dive into stories from around the globe. From this realization, her blog, A Year of Reading the World, was born. You can read about Ann’s journey in her new book, Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, available now in the UK. (The US version, The World Between Two Covers, will be released on May 4.)

I chatted with Ann about the blog-to-book journey and her experience of reading and blogging about literature from 197 countries.

For readers new to A Year of Reading the World, can you talk about your original project — and how the blog came about?

A comment someone left on a blog I wrote four years back, A Year of Reading Women

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A 100-Year-Old Person: The View from Kindergarten

What does a 100-year-old person look like?

For their 100-day anniversary, kindergarteners were asked to come to school dressed as 100-year-olds.

This Aged P. is a member of my family, but, as is obvious from our respective photographs, I am considerably younger than she.

My Valentine to Writing

Kathy Waller:

I send a belated Valentine to writing. No grousing. Read it while you can, because I don’t know how long the warm fuzzies will last.

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

Five members of Austin Mystery Writers post here regularly, and I sometimes wonder whether you readers know which of us is which. So I’m going to clear up any questions  concerning my identify.

I’m Kathy. I write about angst. Any time you arrive here to find weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the writing life, it’s my teeth you hear gnashing.

Kathy Kathy

I’m writing this at home, but home isn’t the only place I gnash. I do it at my office, AKA bookstore coffee shop, in full view of the public. I try to emote quietly, but muttering carries. People around me, many of them equipped with laptops and writing assignments of their own, receive full benefit of my outbursts: “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” “Noooo.” “What’s the word? What’s the word?” “^!*%&@% network.”

(I don’t really say ^!*%&@% , but that’s what I mean.)

I suspect other writers…

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Noir at the Bar on February 16, with Trey Barker, Bill Loehfelm, Lou Berney, & Jesse Sublett

Kathy Waller:

Tomorrow night at Opal Devine’s–Noir at the Bar! Music and hard boiled stories. Scott Montgomery will read, MAYBE, he says, part of his story “RED’S WHITE F-150 BLUES,” which will appear in Austin Mystery Writers’ up-coming anthology, MURDER ON WHEELS.

Originally posted on MysteryPeople:

- Post by Scott M.

On Monday, February 16th, starting at 7 pm at Opal Divine’s, we are back for our first Austin Noir At The Bar for 2015. We have a range of talented authors who will be reading from their hard boiled work. Let Jesse Sublett’s murder ballads put you in the mood, endure my reading (indulge me, the 16th is my birthday), then hold on.

trey barkerTrey R. Barker is a Texas native, now working in Illinois law enforcement whenever he isn’t writing high octane noir. His books, examples includingExit Bloodand Death Is Not Forever, are greasy, 200 MPH, high body count hard boiled. Also an accomplished horror writer, he borrows from that genre to give a fever dream edge to his crime fiction.

20080813_Loehfelm_Bill Loehfelm migrated to New Orleans from Staten Island. He uses the backdrop of his adopted city for his series…

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Cascades, Water Balloons, and Tort Law: An Overview

Baloon's end 480 frame/s

Baloon’s end 480 frame/s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was sitting with friends yesterday evening, studying a menu, when our waiter tipped the tray he was carrying and poured ice water on me. Seven glasses full. Most went onto my lap. My slacks were sopping.

That was the most invigorating experience I’ve had since the Director of the Tort Litigation Division of the largest law firm in Austin hit me smack in the chest with a water balloon. No cause of action was involved. We were engaged in a water balloon fight.

She was contrite, apologized all over the place, but, as I told her, hitting someone was her job. I just happened to move into range.

If the fault fell on anyone, it was my attorney. I was parked at a picnic table with other paralegals and secretaries who were pleading headaches–one pleading a migraine, which she was subject to–when my attorney came over and said, “C’mon, Kathy.” I don’t know how he knew I didn’t have a headache. I could have pleaded migraine, but I didn’t.

He had migraines, as well, so he knew one when he saw one.
 

I had migraines, too, and I never lied about having one. I preferred to embarrass myself in a three-legged race than to tempt fate.

English: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justic...

English: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, lying to lawyers is not a good idea. They know.

So I participated and got the balloon treatment. And I benefited from the experience. In addition to forgiving the Director, I told her the water was a relief. Pease Park isn’t air-conditioned in late spring.

Best of all, I was the only paralegal wearing a wet tee-shirt. It wasn’t the kind that turns transparent, but it was a tee-shirt, and it was wet. Normally when I tell the story, I leave out the phrase not transparent.

Yesterday’s waterfall didn’t have nearly the joie de vivre of the water balloon incident. My friends were appalled and tried to dry me off. Several suggested I head for the restroom and wring myself out (staff had supplied terry cloth hand towels), but moving would have been disastrous. I would have left a trail of water from here to yonder.

Then friends worried I would freeze in the exceptionally cool room. I assured them I wouldn’t. I haven’t frozen since the Great Snow of 1986.

Anyway, after the initial surprise, I laughed and said, “I’m all right, I’m really all right, really,
I’m all right.” And I was.

 

But I also wanted to spare the waiter’s feelings. There’s a reason I’ve never been a waiter, and dumping food and drink on people is it.

I’m glad I behaved graciously about the deluge, because later, the same waiter tipped another tray–while it was resting on a stand, which takes a goodly portion of dexterity–and lost an order of tacos pastor. That time our entire table laughed (except, perhaps, the woman who had ordered the tacos). I made a point of saying, “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.”

The waiter appeared to take the business with equanimity. He probably zenned it. A lot of zenning goes on in Austin.

Telling the whole truth, as I must in a post involving attorneys, requires me to admit I took the cascade with aplomb for the reason every writer with half a grain of sense lives by:

It’s all material.

*****

I tell the story of the water balloon because I think it’s public record, I hope. I hope also  I can’t be fired retroactively. For anyone who just has to know, I’ll explain someday why a bunch of lawyers and support staff were lobbing liquid at one another. But the story is better if you don’t know.

I’m told, however, that listening to tort lawyers plan an afternoon of vigorous recreational games is most instructive, because they spend half the time discussing injury, liability, damages, duty of care, breach, proximate cause, and such.

My own speculation–and it is mere speculation, not legal opinion, so I’m not practicing law without a license–is that in any potential suit, sovereign immunity and res ipsa loquitur, plus a modicum of intentional infliction of emotional distress would battle it out in the courts.

And, yes, I had to check Wikipedia to brush up on most of those terms. I knew them for the test, but since then they’ve re-filed themselves in short-term memory. I do remember quite a bit about res ipsa loquitur and sponges, and I have vivid memories of putting together many trial notebooks.

 

*****

I’m sorry, but I cannot resist. The following photo is captioned The Attorney General of Brazil. If you see him, please write a comment and tell me where he is.

 

 

The Stand-Up

Kathy Waller:

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Austen at a PUB? Yes!
Maddie Shrewsday, Kate’s fourteen-year-old daughter, speculates on what Jane did there.
Prepare to be enlightened. And to LAUGH.

Originally posted on Kate Shrewsday:

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 19.02.11

She’s a stand-up, and she’s only 14.

So we’re driving down to Winchester on one of our Saturday afternoon jaunts, and I come off the soulless M3 motorway to take the old carriage way. The road the postal carriages would have taken to get post to the south and south west. The route the stagecoaches flew along moving visitors from one big house to the next.

And I am doing that thing mothers do where they repeat ad infinitum the litany of landmarks on a road; those that have personal significance (ah, that’s where our car broke down in 1989; that’s the Little Chef where I left my handbag and never went back to get it) and those which have a greater, more elevated place in history.

“Look, darling,” I gesture expansively over the steering wheel, “you see that pub?”

It is labelled ‘The Wheatsheaf’ and it’s a member of…

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Murder in Exotic Places

Kathy Waller:

Austin Mystery Writer Elizabeth Buhmann shares murder mysteries set in India that ooze local color–and one cookbook to alleviate the cravings that reading them might bring on . . .

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

Elizabeth BuhmannBy Elizabeth Buhmann

I love to read murder mysteries that are set somewhere in the world that I have never been. Let me hasten to say that I do not care for such mysteries when they’ve been written by someone who has also never been there, or who has not been there for more than a visit.

No, I want a book that oozes local color and a narrator who has clearly lived there, walked the streets every day and been part of the community. Sometimes it’s an ex-pat, sometimes a person sent there by a job (or a spouse’s job). Or it may be an English-speaking native, or the books may have been written in another language and translated into English.

The River Ganges, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India The River Ganges, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

The author also needs to be a skillful and inventive mystery and suspense writer, so the kind of books I’m talking…

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Tresha Barger’s “It’s a Sign” Appears on Austin Public Library Facebook Page

Kathy Waller:

Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter and Austin Public Library partner to bring you Micro-Mystery Sunday!

Originally posted on Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter:

“It’s a Sign,” a micro-mystery by HoTxSinC’s Tresha Barger, appears on the Austin Public Library Facebook page at noon on Sunday, February 1, 2015: https://www.facebook.com/AustinLibrary

Lead-ins to the story are online at http://library.austintexas.gov/event/micro-mystery-sunday-apl%E2%80%99s-facebook-page-307405 and at https://www.facebook.com/AustinLibrary.

A micro-mystery written by a member of HoTxSinC will appear on the APL Facebook page each Sunday in February.

Micro-mysteries are being selected by former HoTxSinC member Kaye George. National bestselling author of the FAT CAT series, Kaye is also a Silver Falchion Finalist and a three-time Agatha Nominee.

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No Cleavage in Broadchurch

Kathy Waller:

Gale Albright focuses on “Broadchurch” to compare characterization of women detectives in British television series with those in crime shows made for American TV. Tight slacks and stilettos, anyone?

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

hutto oct. 1 2014 023 (2)By Gale Albright

In crime fiction, women traditionally have taken on roles of helpmeet/spouse or devil temptress. It’s the old good girl/bad girl, Madonna/whore dichotomy so prevalent in literature, movies, and television. A great example of this dichotomy appears in the classic noir film, The Maltese Falcon.

Mary Astor is the seductive, murdering femme fatale, Bridget O’Shaughnessy. Lee Patrick plays Sam Spade’s girl Friday, Effie Perrine. She is obviously devoted to him, is on call to do his bidding 24/7 and lives with her mother. He never notices her except to say things like “You’re a good man, sister.” He plays around with Iva Archer, his partner’s wife. She is not on screen long, but she makes it count. When Miles is murdered, she forces her way into Sam’s office, draped head to toe in stylish black, somehow looking sexy, and asks Sam if he killed Miles because he…

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