Reading: Whenever I Can, Wherever I Am

People often speak about beach reads–those paperback darlings you take to the beach and read while baking in the sun or under an umbrella. I’m not a lie-on-the beach type, but I read a lot, until my eyes give up and shut down for the day. There’s always a book in the driver’s door stash of my car–if not for reading, then a Sudoku or crosswords puzzle-book to challenge my brain.

Here are four potential reads for your car, summer beach bag, patio, or as you snuggle in the comfort of air conditioning.

Book next to mug
Dance Among the Flames

One book captured me already this summer: Dance Among the Flames by Tori Eldridge. I reviewed it for Kings River Life, and there’s still time (by July 16) on that site to enter to win a free copy. Eldridge also writes the multi-nominated and award-winning Lily Wong thriller series. In addition, she has a number of published short stories. 

Just back from a whirlwind book and conference tour, Eldridge has performanced as an actress, singer, and dancer on/in broadway, television, and films and is a 5th degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts. Check out her YouTube video channel and her reader page.

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Title, Jukebox with bloody handprint and bullet holes
Includes “Spirit in the Sky”

A  great summer sizzler and beach read is Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s. Each of the 22 stories has a different song from the ’60s as its inspiration, including my own “Spirit in the Sky.”

Rebellion, revolution, and rock ‘n’ roll defined this era where peace, love, and harmony were the goals. The authors reached deep within their memory banks and crafted stories that evoked the spirit of the inspiration song and era.

On sale now (July) at Untreed Reads for less than $1/story. How can you beat that? 

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Desert Scene with text describing anthology
Feel the desert heat!

For more sizzlin’ shorts, try Desert Sleuths 2021 anthology, SoWest: Love Kills. Twenty-four stories based on the theme: Love Hurts. Sometimes it even Kills. Every story is based in Arizona and the ninth anthology featuring only members of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter. I’m please to say this includes my short story, “The Backpack.”


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If a novel is more to your tase, try Edwin Hill’s The Secrets We Share. I reviewed this in April and found it absorbing and engaging.

Follow the footsteps of a murder investigation entangled by family ties and secrets. Keep or share secrets? How can one tell when it is time to open up and admit to the truth? 


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As for my own writing, I’ve made steady progress on adding depth to my suspense fantasy, layering in nuances that connect to previous conversations and actions, adding new scenes, and working on my main character’s flaws. They’re not obvious, but I’m reaching the point in the novel where she recognizes them. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever finish; others, I admit it’s a much better story because of all this fine tuning. Sadly, there’s more to be done.

Writing is a daily activity, a habit, a routine. I usually write from when I rise and get my first cup of coffee. An 8am Zoom write-in every day, often followed by a 10am write-in. If possible, I write until 1-ish and then switch to other activities (meetings, catch up on email, etc.). In July, I host or cohost twice weekly write-ins for National Sisters in Crime and throughout the year host my own twice weekly sessions–longer ones that satisfy writers who want more than 25-minute sprints.

Being an officer in a Sisters in Crime chapter presents writing challenges–projects with deadlines, people with questions, editing the monthly newsletter, and in our chapter, transitioning to a new accounting/CRM system that adds research and experimentation tasks.

If you’re a writer, I imagine you have similar roadblocks to finishing each piece. What are your strategies for carving out writing time? Let me know in the comments.

Until next post, Happy Reading!