For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recently read: Donna Leon’s A Sea of Troubles

As I often comment, I enjoy these mysteries set in contemporary Venice. In this, Commissario Guido Brunetti ventures out to the outlying island of Pellestrina when a father and son are discovered brutally murdered in the charred remains of their burned fishing boat. The small community closes ranks against the police. Against Brunetti’s advice, the inimitable Signorina Elettra decides to work under cover in a role well beyond her duties as the administrative assistant to the Vice-Questore of Venice’s police force.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jennifer Louden’s Satisfaction Finder

Photo of Louden © 2010 Keith Brofsky. All Rights Reserved.

I have been a follower of Jennifer Louden (the Comfort Queen) ever since I bought my first book by this life coach and author. I also subscribe to her emails. One of her recent works is an e-book with video links called The Satisfaction Finder: Ending the Pain of Perfectionism, Overwhelm, Procrastination, and Other Persnickety Issues. Written in Louden’s lighthearted and irreverent style, it provides much wisdom and practical advice. Both the e-book, her other books, and all the opportunities for interacting on her website and blog are well worth taking a look. To start browsing, visit

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recently read: William Lashner’s Hostile Witness

I am getting so fond of Lashner’s hapless lawyer, Victor Carl. In this book, Carl, the dogged defender of the lower levels of Philadelphia’s organized crime workers, finds himself the darling (well, sort of) of a prestigious power firm. The firm’s partners seem determined to fling money at Carl, a hot young woman seems determined to make Carl her own personal companion, and in return, Carl is expected to represent the aide of a city councilman. Both the aide and his boss are on trial for the offenses of extortion and murder. Only Carl is supposed to keep his mouth shut, not look into any of the documents, and let his client take the heat for the councilman. This isn’t Carl’s way, even with the inducements of massive amounts of cash and Veronica’s charms.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writer’s Digest Editors’ Intensive event

As many of you know, I’m a fan of the wide variety of events, publications, contests, and courses offered by Writer’s Digest. I am also a fan of writers’ events, and anything that helps writers navigate the complex world of publishing. Writer’s Digest is offering its “Intensive” on September 11 and 12. You’ll get individual attention and professional feedback. If you are done or soon-to-finish your manuscript, this might be the next step to consider. For more information, see

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recently read: Margaret Frazer’s The Hunter’s Tale

There are a lot of excellent mystery series out there set in a variety of eras. Frazer’s books take place in England in the fifteenth century. The detective is a wise nun, Dame Frevisse, whose curiosity just can’t be reeled in. In this book, Frevisse is asked to provide comfort and companionship to a widow and her children after the murder of their husband and father. The comfort is not because of the loss of a much-loved man, but because of the hatred and viciousness of the man when he was alive. This is a complicated look into a dysfunctional family who nevertheless have maintained their humanity. A very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recently read (or rather, listened to): Mike Dooley’s Manifesting Change: It Couldn’t Be Easier

I love Dooley. His book, Infinite Possibilities, explained much of what has puzzled me my whole life. This accountant-turned international speaker and author is funny and communicates some very intense and complicated ideas in a way that is easily understood. This 10-disk audio book (5 disks are the book, with the other 5 being recordings of his workshops) takes you into more detail in the art of manifesting the life of your dreams. I’m not usually a big fan of audio books (I tend to doze off), but—being a big fan of Dooley, I couldn’t pass this up. Go to his web site and sign up for his free emails at

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Door Sanctuary

Last night I went with my friend, Pam, her mother, Judy, and daughter, Jilly, to a fabulous spiritual and healing service at the Red Door, an urban sanctuary. It is located in the Bindery (which is now an experimental theater) in downtown Denver right beside the Performing Arts Complex. Founded two years ago by the Reverend Eryn DeFoort, the service includes opportunities to meet with healers, a service, and an hour of dancing led by Valency Gorman. A red door is the traditional symbol for sanctuaries in both Eastern and Western traditions. Visit to learn more. I just love having access to events such as this!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recently read: James W. Hall’s Mean High Tide

The more I read of this author’s books, the more I like him. In this older novel, we find Thorn and the love of his life, Darcy, contently fishing and diving off Key Largo. Things go tragically wrong, and Thorn’s usual laid-back investigating becomes a blood quest as he searches for Darcy’s killer among a violent and crazy cast of characters that include mobsters, their offspring, and ex-CIA.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fiction Festival in Italy

Panoramic view of Matera from Wikipedia at

Books Cents, a literary agency based in West Virginia and expanding to New York, is one of the sponsors of the International Women’s Fiction Festival that will be held in Matera, Italy. The dates are September 23 to 26. The agency’s founder, Christine Whitholn, will also be at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference earlier that month. For information on Book Cents and the festival, see

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recently read: Jane Haddam’s Living Witness

Haddam has evolved into such an excellent writer and social commentator over the years since I first started reading her books based on holidays, and Gregor Demarkian continues to be one of the more complicated and likable protagonists around. In this book, Haddam tackles the timely subject of science and those Christians who believe the Bible is the word-for-word truth (never mind that it wasn’t written in English). A small town’s school board is trying to get Creationism taught. The battle turns ugly when a 91-year-old woman who is pro-evolution is beaten to death. As ever, Haddam shows the violence under the surface of ordinary people, and the danger of ignorance and blind faith.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pub Rants blog

Wazee Street is in the historic section of Denver referred to as LoDo (Lower Downtown). Image of the street from Wikipedia is in the public domain.

If you are a writer who is sending out queries—whether to agents or editors—you should be reading Kristin Nelson’s blog by “a very nice literary agent [who] indulges in polite rants about queries, writers and the publishing industry” at Nelson (who lives in Denver) started the Nelson Literary Agency on Wazee Street in 2002. I have been checking her blog on and off for years and find her insights very helpful (and often entertaining).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Recently read: Elizabeth Ironside’s The Accomplice

Like Ironside’s first book, Death in the Garden, this is a griping read for intelligent readers who appreciate a well-drawn plot, complex characters, and a sense of time and place. This novel takes place in contemporary England, although the events of the present are rooted in the past. Jean Loftus is a long-time resident of a charming village, much loved by her family and her neighbors. A skeleton in the garden, a persistent Russian student, and the long shadow of Russia during the revolution cast doubt on Jean’s personal history. Jean’s dear friend, Zita, tries to protect her, wondering as she does so if her own actions make her an accomplish to whatever dark acts were buried long ago.