What I’m reading: The Medicus series by Ruth Downie

First, though, Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA readers! I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. I spent the past week in rural North Carolina with my family and limited internet access. It was wonderful.

A couple of years ago, a book caught my eye at the public library: Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie. I read it, and realized it was the fifth of a series. I began reading the first one then lost track of it on my Kindle (you probably know how that happens!) and didn’t finish.

Over the holiday I had lots of time to read, and I finished the first book in the series, Medicus. Gaius Ruso is a medicus – a physician – in the days of Emperor Hadrian of the Roman Empire. He’s a Roman citizen, from southern Gaul, who joined the army to put distance between himself and his family while also trying to earn money to save the family farm. His unit is stationed in northern Britain, first in the town of Deva (present-day Chester), then up on the wall that Hadrian is building. His patients are mostly soldiers suffering from accidents or fight-related injuries.

This is great historical fiction. Every book has a mystery – in the first, someone is killing off barmaids; in the sixth, a young boy sees a body buried in the interior section of Hadrian’s Wall. Ruso rescues a female slave, Tilla, from an abusive owner, and she complicates his life in all sorts of ways. The mysteries are tightly plotted, the characters are fully formed, there’s humor – and since I’ve tramped across most of Hadrian’s Wall, I can clearly identify the locations in the books.

If you like historical mysteries, particularly ancient history, give the Medicus series a try.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

NaNo winner!

Whew! Today I was able to validate my novel and claim winnership (is that a word?) in NaNoWriMo. You can see the word count in the icon to the right. I’m not quite done, so the word count may shift upwards a bit over the next week.

But – the first draft of Landscaped to Death, which will be JBM #14, is done! I’m finishing up a short story which will accompany it. I hurried to finish this year because I’m spending the next week in rural North Carolina with no wireless access. I write in Google Docs, which I can do offline, but I prefer not to. Plus, you know, when you’re writing all the time, your relatives ask what the heck you’re doing, and it’s rude. :D

Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA friends!


Filed under Books, Writing

Here’s the blurb for Played to Death!

Coming in early December…

“Having someone get murdered at your wedding has to be the worst.”

Scott Deering, cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, doesn’t usually play weddings. But a friend’s family emergency finds him reluctantly anchoring a college string quartet at the wedding of a couple with more money Played cover 1than taste. When his second violinist goes missing after the ceremony, Scott is determined that the show must go on – until the violinist turns up dead and Scott’s day goes to hell.

Jamie Brodie and Pete Ferguson are attending the lavishly over-the-top wedding of an acquaintance of Pete’s when Jamie spots a ghost from his past in the string quartet – Scott Deering, the last guy he dated before Pete. The murder at the wedding is shocking, but it’s not Jamie’s business – until a theft from the music library at UCLA sucks him into the investigation. All Jamie wants to do is finalize the plans for his own wedding to Pete, but first he has to join forces with Scott to track down a killer – and deal with another ghost that throws everyone’s lives into turmoil.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Avenged to Death featured this week!

Gay mystery writer and reviewer Jon Michaelsen is featuring an excerpt from Avenged to Death on his blog this week:  http://www.jonmichaelsen.net/?p=2344  Hop on over and check out Jon’s blog. If you like gay mystery, he has a ton of recommendations, not to mention his own publications.

Avenged is also the featured post this week on the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Facebook page, another site where you can find recommendations and news about new releases: https://www.facebook.com/groups/518503111562540/


Avenged to Death: Jamie Brodie Mystery #10

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Marketing

While I’m off writing, Stoned to Death is out on Smashwords

As you can see from the word count to the right, NaNoWriMo is going well so far! Meanwhile, Stoned to Death, JBM #8, is being released at Smashwords and through its affiliates today. Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587224

Jamie Brodie Mystery #8

Jamie Brodie Mystery #8

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Publishing

The cover for Played to Death!

Here it is! Still don’t have an exact date for the book yet, but should be early December.Played cover 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Citizens Police Academy: The Firing Range

"Glock22inOliveDrab". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg#/media/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg

“Glock22inOliveDrab”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg#/media/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg

This week’s academy consisted of a longish bus ride and a lot of standing around to accomplish one thing – to fire a typical police officer’s service weapon. My city police department uses the Glock 22, which fires .40 caliber rounds.

We went in pairs (there are 48 people in the class, so it took a while) to the target area, where the training officers showed us how to hold the gun, made sure we were in the correct position, then allowed us to fire five shots into the target. The gun itself was light but I was surprised how much kick it had.

And that was it. A couple of the criminal justice college students in the class got to fire semiautomatics (M-16) but I didn’t need to do that.

Next week is our last meeting – we get a certificate, have our group picture taken, and eat pizza. There will also be an active shooter simulation, which I’ve taken part in before.

This has been a fascinating experience. I’m so glad I did it. If you have a similar opportunity in your city or county, I’d definitely recommend taking it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized