Patricia Smiley – In the Hot Seat

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On Thursday, December 6th at 7 PM, Patricia Smiley and Matt Coyle will appear at The Poisoned Pen to discuss their latest books. Coyle will sign Wrong Light while Smiley will talk about and sign The Second Goodbye. Signed copies of their books are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Patricia Smiley was kind enough to agree to sit “In the Hot Seat” and answer questions about her book and other subjects. Thank you, Patricia.

Patricia, would you introduce yourself to the blog readers?

I’m the author of four humorous mystery novels featuring a gutsy businesswoman named Tucker Sinclair, her quirky mother, and a group of interesting friends. After that series came to an end, I went in a totally different direction with a hard-boiled series about a gutsy female LAPD Homicide detective named Davie Richards, her quirky father, and a group of interesting friends. Is there a pattern developing here? Aside from writing, I have an MBA, organize my T-shirts by color, hate to vacuum but I’ll Hoover the cat hair off the furniture if I know you’re stopping by. I’m a loyal friend, an animal lover, a chronic volunteerer, a native Washingtonian who’s lived in Los Angeles for so long I almost feel like I belong. I write about L.A. because at the end of every freeway exit is another neighborhood and another writer’s story.

Please introduce us to Davie Richards.

Davie’s father Bear often says, “You can love the job but the job will never love you.” But Davie loves her job. She believes, as most homicide detectives do, that she alone stands in the shoes of the victim, protecting their interests above all others. She’s thirty-one, a petite redhead who over compensates for her diminutive size by striving for competence, including earning the LAPD’s highest shooting award, the Distinguished Expert Marksman and Sharpshooter medal called a DX. She’s a second-generation LAPD detective whose dream has always been to work homicide. She has a tight-knit circle of friends and a long list of nicknames. Her partner calls her Green-eyed Ninja. Her father calls her Ace. Her grandmother just calls her Sweetie.

Tell us about The Second Goodbye, without spoilers.

Second Goodbye-2

As avid crime-fiction readers know, good detectives never assume anything. As Davie investigates an old unsolved gang murder, her boss hands her a file to work in her spare time—an old suicide case in a gun store that he’s always found suspicious but has never had time to pursue. As Davie juggles both cases, her search for justice takes her from the mean streets of L.A. to the crystal blue waters of the British Virgin Islands. The Second Goodbye is a story about love and betrayal, friendship, and one detective’s dogged pursuit of the truth no matter where it leads or at what the personal cost.

When I started plotting this novel, many desperate ideas ricocheted around in my head. My first decision was to bring back Jon Striker, a character I’d introduced in Outside the Wire, the second book in the Pacific Homicide series. Secondly, I’ve always been fascinated by money laundering. The basics weren’t hard to grasp, but the details seemed unfathomable, which is why crooks like it so much. Then, at Bouchercon in New Orleans I met a cop who suggested I research suicides in gun stores for plot ideas. In the midst of all that, I went on a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands and joked with my friends that I’d use the trip as a tax write off. Once I learned the BVIs were a haven for money launderers, the plot was off and running.

I was going to ask how you researched the police for the Davie Richards series, and then learned of your experiences with the LAPD. How have you taken advantage of that experience?

When I was writing my first novel in the Tucker Sinclair series I needed to write a scene in a police station, but I had no idea how to do that because I’d never been in a police station. At a Neighborhood Watch meeting I learned about the LAPD’s volunteer program. I applied and that began a 15 year stint as a volunteer and later a Specialist Reserve Officer, working in Community Relations, with detectives at the LAX substation, and finally in the Pacific Area detective squad room where I was trained as a burglary and theft investigator. My close proximity to members of law enforcement, as well as listening to stories and cop patois, gave me a unique perspective—an outsider working from the inside. Those years were about the most fun I’ve ever had.

I know everyone’s publishing journey is different. Tell us about your experience.

Let’s just say it was a long and bumpy road that was survivable only because I have a sense of humor. My first agent had just started to send my book to publishers when 9-11 happened. Two weeks later, amidst the massive uncertainty in the country, she called to tell me she had quit her job and was leaving New York. I eventually got another agent who sold my book. Then I waited for what seemed like at eternity for the editorial letter, only to discover that my new editor had left the job without telling me. My second editor died while reviewing my manuscript, ushering in my third editor. The book was finally published but only after two and a half years of uncertainty. There’s more, but it may end up as fodder for my next novel so—no spoilers.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had involving the mystery community?

There are countless memorable experiences but the most consequential and heartwarming are due to established authors who gave me a leg up when they didn’t have to. I will always give a special nod of gratitude to Elizabeth George who began as my teacher and mentor and along the way became my friend.

Would you tell us about your next book?

Not sure. Stay tuned.

A personal question. If visitors come, where do you like to take them in L.A.?

Sailing (because…dolphins), Santa Monica pier and 3rd Street Promenade (a peek at SoCal life), Venice Beach (the chainsaw juggler and other wacky stuff), The Getty Museum (a city bus takes you there for 35 cents), my favorite Mexican restaurant (hand-made margaritas!), Malibu (because I love it so much), Hollywood (but only for the brave) and of course my house (to oooh and ahhh over my cats).

What books are on your TBR (To Be Read) pile?

My TBR pile is stacked to the ceiling. I buy a lot of books but when I’m writing I rarely read fiction. And since it seems like I’ve been writing nonstop forever, I’m way behind. I did recently finish Lost Luggage by Wendall Thomas (well written and hilarious), and the ARC of Matt Coyle’s upcoming book Wrong Light (evocative and suspenseful). At the moment I’m deep into Less by Andrew Sean Greer (a literary novel that is engaging and beautifully written). Next on my TBA pile is The Force by Don Winslow.

Name an author or book that you wish had received more attention.

Far too many talented authors fit into this category. It’s one of the sad realities of the publishing business. If I could summon a genie by rubbing a magic lamp, I’d use all my wishes to change that.

Thank you, Patricia. Patricia Smiley’s website is http://patriciasmiley.com/. Check it out!

Cassandra Clare in Conversation with Diana Gabaldon

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It’s not too early to get your tickets to Cassandra Clare’s book signing and conversation with Diana Gabaldon.

Cassandra Clare in conversation with Diana Gabaldon!

December 10th, 2018

Madison Center for the Arts

5601 N 16th St

Phoenix, AZ 85016

This is an off-site, ticketed event.  Please click link to purchase tickets.


All first editions of QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS will include exclusive reverse-printed jacket art, ten black and white interior illustrations, and a new short story!

Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAYbestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy. Queen of Air and Darkness is a Shadowhunters novel.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

Cassandra Clare will personalize 1 copy of Queen of Air and Darkness and will sign one additional book from the Dark Artifices trilogy.  We will have Lady Midnight (book 1) and Lord of Shadows (book 2) available for purchase at the event.
Diana Gabaldon will sign copies of her books purchased at the event.
Sorry but no previously purchased books will be allowed.

Can’t attend event but wish to purchase a signed copy of QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS?   Click Here!

Joe Ide’s Wrecked

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“With ‘Wrecked’, Ide confirms that he’s among the most original new voices in today’s crime fiction.” That’s a quote from Patrick Anderson’s recent Washington Post review of Joe Ide’s third IQ mystery, Wreckedhttps://wapo.st/2DFPoBS

If you’re thinking about a gift for yourself or someone else, there are still signed copies of Wrecked available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2DFQpK

Here’s the summary of Wrecked, if you didn’t read the article.

In this outrageous novel from Joe Ide, “the best thing to happen to mystery writing in a very long time” (New York Times), the case of a young artist’s missing mother sets IQ on a collision course with his own Moriarty.

Isaiah Quintabe–IQ for short–has never been more successful, or felt more alone. A series of high-profile wins in his hometown of East Long Beach have made him so notorious that he can hardly go to the corner store without being recognized. Dodson, once his sidekick, is now his full-fledged partner, hell-bent on giving IQ’s PI business some real legitimacy: a Facebook page, and IQ’s promise to stop accepting Christmas sweaters and carpet cleanings in exchange for PI services.

So when a young painter approaches IQ for help tracking down her missing mother, it’s not just the case Isaiah’s looking for, but the human connection. And when his new confidant turns out to be connected to a dangerous paramilitary operation, IQ falls victim to a threat even a genius can’t see coming.

Waiting for Isaiah around every corner is Seb, the Oxford-educated African gangster who was responsible for the death of his brother, Marcus. Only, this time, Isaiah’s not alone. Joined by a new love interest and his familiar band of accomplices, IQ is back–and the adventures are better than ever.

Hot Book of the Week -The Lost Words

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“A grassroots movement to re-wild childhood.” That’s a beautiful description of the reason behind the Poisoned Pen’s current Hot Book of the Week, The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Copies are available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2S2L2c8

Lost Words

Here’s the summary of The Lost Words.


In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary — widely used in schools around the world — was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acornadderbluebelldandelionfernheronkingfishernewtotter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachmentblogbroadbandbullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book — a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.

2018 NM – AZ Book Awards

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As always, we hope you check the Web Store before ordering any copies of the books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/


2017-NM-AZBookAwards WINNER

12th Annual NM-AZ Book Awards Winners Announced

The winners in 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards were announced this evening at a gala awards banquet held at the Tanoan Country Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Awards were presented in 58 categories, from poetry to history and nonfiction to children’s books.

1,089 books were entered in this year’s awards program and 236 of those entries were selected as finalists, which were announced in September 2018. Entries came from large and small publishers from all across the country. Any books by Arizona or New Mexico authors or publishers were eligible as well as books that focused on either Arizona or New Mexico. Because of that entries came from small, one book publishers as well as large national publishers like St Martin’s Press, Random House, Globe Pequot, and even Penguin Books. Many entries came from academic publishers all across the region. Entries this year were up 7%.

The entire list of winners can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

NO Valley 2-up covers

The top honors this year went to:

Best Arizona Book

Arizona’s Deadliest Gunfight
Osselaer, Heidi
Univ of OK Press

Best New Mexico Book

ABQ’s North Valley
Alexander, Francelle
Rio Grande Books

Best New Mexico Book

Farmer, W Michael
Globe Pequot


Hillerman Award for Fiction

Blood on the Cimarron
Coley, Mary

Hillerman Award for Fiction

Stealin’ from the Neighbors
Ashurst, Ed
Ed Ashurst Publishing

Steele Award for History

Into the White Sands
Varjabedian, Craig
UNM Press


Steele Award for History

Whither the Waters
Kessell, John
UNM Press

Best of Show

New Mexico Historical Chronology
Bullis, Don
Rio Grande Press

Best of Show

Paul Pletka: Imagined Wests
Scott, Amy
Univ of OK Press

Steven Havill’s Lies Come Easy

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Tuesday is release date for Steven Havill’s twenty-third Posadas County Mystery, Lies Come Easy. That means it’s the perfect time to share an interview from Bookreporter.com. But, first a little about the book itself. Let’s begin with the fact that you can order a signed copy, or copies of Havill’s other books, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2A5L4Za

Lies Come Easy

Here’s the description of Lies Come Easy.

One blizzardy New Mexico night, Posadas County Deputy Pasquale picks up a toddler scooting his Scamper along the shoulder of State 56.

Yes, it’s horrifying – a child apparently dumped out of a truck by his father. Nearly as horrifying is what unrolls while Christmas approaches after dad Darrell Fisher’s arrest: a request arrives from the US Forest Service to locate a missing range tech and his unit last reported headed for nearby Stinkin’ Springs, and the brutal murder of Constance Suarez in the border town of Regál, population 37.

The Sheriff’s Department is stretched to its limits as its dedicated personnel juggle working cases and caring for citizens with their own relationships and family celebrations. The irony of so much wickedness at the holidays is not lost on anyone. Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman, heading out her door to a crime scene, reflects: “It would be a glorious holiday evening for somebody.”

As their mother joins her colleagues in dealing with the Fisher family, the Forest Service’s absent Myron Fitzwater, the murder, and who knows what else in Regál, Francisco and Carolos, the sons of Estelle and physician Francis, arrange to jet in to spend Christmas with their parents. Francisco the musical prodigy is now a celebrated pianist and composer with an international career. Carlos is thriving at Stanford. Both sons bring special surprises with them. And retired Sheriff Bill Gastner is cooking up a Christmas gift of his own.

In Steven Havill’s twenty-third Posadas County Mystery, family dynamics play a huge role as Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman and the whole department work to pull the right threads out of a tangle of seemingly small lies. It makes for a mix of the mundane with the harrowing. And justice for all will prove elusive.


If you’d like to hear from the author himself, check out Michael Barson’s interview with Steven Havill. http://bit.ly/2PC1u6f

Steven Havill

Why Cleopatra?

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Dana Stabenow has been kind enough to keep readers in the loop when she looks back at her research for her forthcoming book, Death of an Eye. You can order Stabenow’s books, including a signed copy of the new book, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2F9m0Bq

Death of an Eye

Death of an Eye, the first Eye of Isis novel, will be out first as an ebook. Stabenow will be signing hardcover copies, though, at the Poisoned Pen at 2 PM on Saturday, December 8.

Now, she’s sharing her thoughts about Cleopatra on her website. http://bit.ly/2FrYXqv

If you missed it earlier, here’s the description of Death of an Eye.

Alexandria, 47BCE: Cleopatra shares the throne with her brother Ptolemy under the auspices of Julius Caesar, by whom Cleopatra is heavily pregnant with child. A shipment of new coin meant to reset the shaky Egyptian economy has been stolen, the Queen’s Eye has been murdered and Queen Cleopatra turns to childhood friend Tetisheri to find the missing shipment and bring the murderer to justice.