Mirymom's Blog

Dangerous When Bored

Interview with Christine Campbell June 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 12:09 pm

Hi Christine! So glad to hear that this series is continuing. I *love* Mirabelle.

Scribbling In The Storage Room

Rusty Gold small .jpeg

It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine Campbell to the Storage Room today. Rusty Gold, the third book in her Reluctant Detective Series, was released yesterday so it’s a real treat to talk with her today. Christine and I write in the same genre and tend to address many of the same issues, but in very different ways. I love how that happens. Anyway, here’s Christine –

What genre books do you write?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, though some of them almost fall into the cosy mystery/cosy crime sort of area.

What types of books do you typically read?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Cosy Crime, Mystery, Legal/courtroom novels, Relationship novels (not really romance)

Whatever I read, I like it to be a ‘clean’ read, as in no swearing, sex or violence. I’m also not into fantasy or science fiction – and especially not paranormal or supernatural.

So I suppose I have a…

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2000-2009: Some Great Books June 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 9:36 pm

I’ve read several of these, but not all. I should stop reading Shannon’s blogs. They always add to my TBR. 🙂

Books Worth Reading

On this blog, with the exception of some “modern classics,” I review books published since 2010. I included a small selection of books from the 2000s decade on my list of recommended foundational reading, but at the expense of ignoring a lot of worthwhile reads. If you have some extra reading time, may I suggest a few titles? While you’ve probably already read several of these, you may have missed one or two  when they were new. As we all know, many books age well and never go out of style, so it’s worth occasionally dipping into the backlist for a good read.


  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)
  • Blue Angel by Francine Prose (2000)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)
  • Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (2001)
  • Lamb by Christopher Moore (2002)
  • The Years of…

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Curiosity Quills: Chronology

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 12:35 pm

What I love about anthologies is the opportunity to get an introduction to several writers’ works in one single book. That way you can fill up your TBR list with the stuff you like best.


Curiosity Quills: ChronologyThis anthology contains 24 short stories of speculative fiction in a range of genres and styles.

  • ‘Draconic King’ by James Wymore: seeing weakness in a neighbouring country, a young king attempts to convince the dragon who aided his ancestors to join his invasion.

  • ‘Wind Up Hearts’ by Stan Swanson: two people, granted longevity by an experimental clockwork heart, seek a future defined by more than their mutual technology.

  • ‘Flight of the Pegasus’ by Darin Kennedy: a government agent attempts to convince a savant to aid him in a mission against a super-villain.

  • ‘That Which is Hidden’ by Julie Frost: A werewolf resolves to track the killers of the only woman who didn’t judge him by his condition.

  • ‘Whitechapel’ by Andrew Buckley: when the forces of darkness clothe themselves in the form of prostitutes and the downtrodden, a man is forced to keep the streets of Victorian London safe.

  • ‘The Lair’…

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Present vs. past tense: Which to use in your writing June 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 5:14 pm

I’m often thrown by present tense. It’s harder for me to fall into the story when it’s told in present tense. However, when it’s done well, and when it fits the story, it can totally be the right choice. I also read The Nightingale, and I didn’t even notice that the two sections were told in different tenses. That’s how skillfully the author moved me between the two.

Shannon Turlington

Over the past few years, I have noticed that more and more writers are using the present tense rather than the past tense to tell their stories. I think this trend started in young adult fiction, but now writers of all genres are employing the technique. Some readers don’t like this and will refuse to read books written in present tense.

The present tense is not a grating style choice for me as a reader, unlike the recent trend of not using quotation marks. (That trend, thankfully, seems to be fading away.) I hated it when authors chose not to use quotation marks because it almost always threw me out of the story. I had to keep stopping to figure out whether someone was talking or not. It got to be so common that I wouldn’t even read a book that didn’t have quotation marks. This rule could be broken…

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The Lightness of Gold June 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 7:02 pm

As always, a thoughtful post. Reading Dave always gives me something to think about.


Do artists owe a duty to speak true things? A complex topic in itself, but more complex is whether that duty takes precedence over selling work.

The rather spiffing Austin Hackney made several interesting comments in response to last week’s post on avoiding gendered language: among them that authors need to consider commercial realities, but also need to consider the impact of their art.

I try to do good with my books as in all things. However, even if an author doesn’t want to think about the “message” of their work, any random person bears responsibility for their words, so it seems hard to challenge the assertion authors bear a responsibility to write more than merely unconsidered entertainment.

A more interesting question is whether and to what extent that duty overrides the best commercial strategy.

On the face of it rejecting the tropes, symbols, trappings and such that debase…

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A Third Grade Teacher in North Carolina: What It Is Like To Teach in My State June 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 2:41 pm

Very thoughtful piece. I hope it makes some difference for teachers in NC. We need teachers like this. Let’s make it possible for her to keep her job without sacrificing her own family’s well being.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This third grade teacher responded to the post and comments about the heavy emphasis on testing students in third grade.

She wrote:

I thought that maybe a third grade teacher in NC should weigh in on this. I can only speak for what is occurring in my county, but here is what I am up against: I have to complete all reading 3D data within an approximate 2 week period. This involves a three minute fill in the blank test (whole class), three one minute timed reads with three one minute retells of each read, and a diagnosis of a students independent reading level by testing their reading, writing, and oral comprehension of leveled passages. The writing consists of two questions which are scored against a rubric and you must take the LOWER of the two scores. This must be completed on every student in my class.

In addition, our…

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Experiments in book discovery… (part 1 of many, I hope) June 9, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Samantha Bryant @ 1:57 pm

Thanks for the hat-tip. I think Nathan’s new endeavor is brilliant and I hope it finds readers find the good stuff out there in indie books.

Shannon Turlington

Yesterday, I wrote about self-published books and quality, and I lamented that it is very difficult for the ordinary reader to find the quality reads in the gigantic pool of self-published books. Most self-published authors, especially authors who haven’t established an audience, generally don’t have access to the various means of book discovery that traditionally published authors do. They usually aren’t in bookstores or libraries where readers may browse; they aren’t reviewed by major book review outlets; they don’t have well-known awards.

To be truthful, readers don’t want to work that hard to find books. We just want to get on with the reading. So authors, don’t make us work!

I think the key is author collaboration: authors working together to come up with creative ways of making their books more discoverable, and of reassuring readers that these are books worth their time (not to mention their money).

Author Samantha Bryant turned me on to…

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