Monthly Archives: October 2008

Climbing on My Soap Box

I’m back on my soap box once again. On DorothyL, the premiere list for mystery fans and authors, they’ve been discussing the fact that Bouchercon has voted against discriminating against small press as far as allowing their authors to serve on panels. (They won’t let self-pubbed or those who paid to be published unless they’ve won a prestigious prize.)

Left Coast Crime on the other hand will not allow any author published by a non-MWA approved publisher be on a panel. (To add to the insult, they talk about real writers as opposed to the other kind. Real writers meaning those published by New York publishers.)

To be an MWA approved publisher, the publisher must print at least 500 books at once (something most small presses who use print on demand technology don’t do) and give an advance, two things my publishers don’t do though they meet all the other criteria.

Though going to mystery cons is an enjoyable experience, they are very expensive. If you can’t be on a panel, your books will not be in the book room. If you’re not on a panel of course no one will be able to purchase your book. For an author, part of the reason to go to a con is to let people know about your book.

I’ve decided to only attend mystery cons and writers conferences where I can be on a panel or be a speaker, for several reasons. I want the most for my promotion dollar. I also want to be able to take the trip off my income tax. And most of all, I’m really tired of this discrimination against authors who aren’t published by MWA approved publishers.

Another big decision I’ve made is not to pay my next year’s dues to MWA even though I’m a full member–something I’ll never be again once I quit paying my dues. I’ve been a member for years–but they haven’t really done anything for me except to discriminate against me. I get far more out of other organization I belong to such as Epic and the Public Safety Writers Association, and the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters and Crime as well as the Internet chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Now I’ll climb off my soap box.


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Remembering Rod Serling’s Night Gallery

Set in a shadowy museum of the outré, Night Gallery (NBC, 1970-1973) was a highly diverse anthology television series featuring tales in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction vein—all of which were introduced by a dark and disturbing collection of canvases unveiled by the museum’s “curator,” series host and creator Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone). The show blended thoughtful original dramas written by Serling himself with adaptations of classic genre material, including short stories by the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, Conrad Aiken and Richard Matheson. The variety of material in Night Gallery brought with it a variety of tone, from the deadly serious to the tongue-in-cheek, stretching the television anthology concept to its very limits. Like The Twilight Zone, each segment of Night Gallery featured a dazzling array of guest stars from the worlds of film and television, as well as contributions from such promising young directors as John Badham and Steven Spielberg. Unlike Twilight Zone, the series was fraught with tension behind the scenes, including an ongoing conflict between creator Serling and producer Jack Laird over the direction of Night Gallery that would ultimately find Serling on the outside looking in.

Frankie and I paid tribute to Night Gallery along with Jim Benson, co-author of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour, a comprehensive look at this classic series that also serves as an abject reminder of how network television sometimes works. Jim was also a consultant on the upcoming Night Gallery: Season Two DVD package, which features commentary by Oscar nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrynth). If you’re a fan of Rod Serling, but missed our conversation, we invite you to listen to our archive, which is now available on our archives page at


Ed Robertson
Every other Tuesday at
10:30pm ET, 7:30pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio,

Also available as a podcast via iTunes

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Hangin’ Out

Book Lovers’ Fairs or Expos are great opportunities for networking in ‘author world,’ showcasing your  writing talents and generally, having a lot of fun.  Meeting fellow authors is a marvelous trip.  Most writer’s are unique in so many ways I truly appreciate.  Although I look forward to meeting and hanging out with a crazy, diverse bunch of writers, some of the moments I anticipate the most at a multiple-author, book event are spying the adorable, animated characters milling around and rushing to hang out with them.  They’re there to bolster the childrens’ books or advertise something out in town.  Either way, I’m thrilled to see them.  I’ve grown very respectful of mascots over the years.  They don’t talk, have a pleasant demeanor, a delighted, if not goofy, look on their face, transmit infectious energy and throw out happy waves to everyone.  They’re big and have even bigger heads, with shoes to match.  I get so excited to see them, I want to be them.  Yes, my mind has gone there.  The thought of becoming a big head with big shoes bounces in my brain quite often, but the dilemma is what head would I choose.  I’ve envisioned a Bluebird because they’re happy, have wings and uncommon as a mascot.  Bees are disappearing, so maybe I should be a honeybee to bring attention to their plight.  I’d still have wings, but I’d also be adorned with antennae and yellow is a good color for me.  I’ll think on that a while.  I guess my message to everyone with this little bloggie blurb is stay positive, have fun in whatever you do and respect the ‘clean’ fun others are having even if it’s not your cup of tea.   Book signings,  Literary Symposiums and Writer’s Workshops are on the schedule for me over the next six months, and I plan to have a huge amount of fun teaching or learning at all of them.  I just hope some big-headed mascots will be close by to hang out with.  Bye, Bye, now!













 Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of “Save Them All


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Virtual Book Tour

I’m on a virtual book tour for Kindred Spirits all month, and these are the places I’ll be until I post on this blog again:

Oct 15
Oct 16
Oct 17
Oct 20
Oct 21 and
Oct 22
Oct 23
Oct 24
Oct 27
Oct 28

If you visit any of these blogs, please leave a comment.

I also have a book video here:

This has been a hectic time beginning with the first of September. I’ve done more promotion for this book than any of my others.

It began with a preview when I spoke to the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, The following week I had the official book launch in Crescent City CA where much of the story takes place. We flew to Illinois where I spoke to the Prose in the Park Writing Conference–and also signed a contract with my new publisher for the next in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

I attended the Wizards of Words conference in Scottsdale AZ where I gave two presentations.

The coming weekend is the Apple Festival in Springville (where I live) CA and I’ll have a booth on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend after that, on October 25th at 2 p.m., I’ll be in Henderson NV (next to Las Vegas) at Cheescake and Crime, a wonderful bookstore giving a talk about what kind of research I do for the Native American information in my mysteries.

Whew! And it’s not over yet! I’m already filling my calendar with events for next year too.
And sometime, I need to find time to write two more books–yes, that’s what I said, two more books.



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Backyard Fatality

As much as I love nature and nature loves me, I can’t seem to escape the occasional backyard fatality.
Their hunt is aggressive but manners demure, it wasn’t a cat, that’s for sure.
Feline free roamers with pure criminal intent are not nature to me.
Wildlife has little defense against efficient sport killers as these.
With cats, death is usually quick and quietly carried away.
They leave no trace, there is nothing to know, no guilt to pay.
No . . . this was a hawk, Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s variety,
Who must also eat, so I reluctantly accept occasional loss and know it must be.
Nature circles where I live; my grounds, my mind, soul and in my heart.
Disjoined bed of feathers, tragic scenes such as these give way to guilt’s start.
Which to save . . . not for me nor others to say, it’s always nature’s way.
I try to keep them all safe with cover and food; the doves, cardinals, flickers, squirrels,
Wrens, bluejays, titmouse, robin, thrasher, chickadee, opossum and sparrows.
But there’ll come a day when one is not alert or fast enough to out sway,
And I shall gather up all that is left of one I encouraged to stay.
I’ll always love nature and nature will love me,
Just wish I could escape the tormenting backyard fatality.


by Linda Bergman-Althouse, author of “Save Them All


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Interview with Paul Green, author of PETE DUEL: A BIOGRAPHY, now available on Share-a-Vision Radio

Most of us think of Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes, the amiable outlaw that he played so well on the short-lived but long-remembered television Western series, Alias Smith and Jones (ABC, 1971-1973). That, of course, was the image we saw on screen. Off screen, Pete Duel was a complex man who led an unpredictable and often tumultuous life—a fact best characterized by his highly publicized suicide on Dec. 31, 1971, at the height of his television celebrity.The story of Pete Duel is one of the great

Hollywood tragedies… but it’s also a reminder that the true value of a person rests not in the manner of their death, but in the way they lived their life and continue to touch the lives of the people of who knew them. That’s really the focus of Pete Duel: A Biography, a fascinating new book by Paul Green that Frankie and I talked about last week on TV Confidential.In case you missed it, our interview with Paul is now available on our archives page at The program also features film and television actress Kim Darby, who not only co-starred with Pete Duel in the film Generation but was among the actor’s closest friends.  

Ed Robertson
Every other Tuesday at 10:30pm ET, 7:30pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio,
Also available as a podcast via iTunes


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Corría el decimotercer año del recién estrenado milenio, aniversario de la gran deflagración. Blenda y Ruth ya habían dejado de ser las alocadas colegialas que traían en jaque los esforzados desvelos de sus padres, atentos en toda ocasión para que aquellas varitas tiernas crecieran sin torcerse. Al fin parecía que tanta preocupación había dado su fruto y ahora, convertidas en dos chicas responsables, se bastaban por sí mismas para ganarse el sustento con sus hábiles merecimientos. Ellas no lo conocieron, pero antes ya habían oído por boca de sus padres de los devastadores efectos de la gran crisis, aquellos duros tiempos que siguieron cuando el mundo entero se estremeció. Los sacrificios de sus padres sirvieron para que ellas recibieran una adecuada educación, libres y ajenas a lo que tomaban por horrendos recuerdos de una pasada prehistoria que nada tenía que ver con su tiempo actual.
Ahora disponían de su propio apartamento en la ciudad, a apenas una hora de tren de la casa paterna. Desde hacía un año cada una costeaba el suyo, no se lo habían contado a sus padres para no preocuparles, sabían además que no lo aprobarían. Almorzaban siempre juntas y si, por motivos de trabajo no podían verse algún día, se llamaban por teléfono al final de la jornada para intercambiar impresiones. Ruth sabía por su hermana de los avances conseguidos desde que aceptó el reto y firmó contrato con la Central Química Nuclear, fue poco después cuando decidieron adquirir un apartamento para cada una, innegable señal de que iban por cauce seguro. Desde entonces, Ruth se quedó sola a cargo de la Asesoría, desbordada de tareas, pero señal también inequívoca de que la suerte les sonreía. Envidiaba la valentía de su hermana y el afortunado salto laboral que le permitía cada mes engrosar la cuantía de su nada despreciable nómina. Blenda se lo contaba, mencionaba la calidad de medios, posibilidades de ascenso, hablaba de cifras crecientes a las que ella nunca tendría opción ni aún dedicando horas extras. Eran mellizas y siempre habían compartido todo, pero Ruth la quería, era su hermana.
Blenda le había comentado sobre el nuevo Director General de la Compañía, el señor Martín era un hombre joven proveniente de la capital del estado y que se había incorporado al puesto hacía unos meses. En su calidad de Ayudante Técnico eran frecuentes las reuniones de su departamento con la Dirección y, ahora, el nuevo Director General se había animado a cumplir lo pactado y la había invitado a cenar, fiel a la política de empatizar con los integrantes de la Compañía.
Blenda invitó también a su hermana, aprovechaba así para evitar quedarse a solas con el mandamás bajo el pretexto de que conociera de cerca su entorno familiar. Blenda era más fría para eso, si no le gustaba el muchacho sólo por dinero era capaz de aceptar un compromiso. A Ruth le sacaba de quicio aquella interesada capacidad que tan óptimos resultados le proporcionaba a su hermana. Habían pasado la tarde en el apartamento, concentradas en la cocina para preparar los spaguettis a la carbonara como sólo ellas sabían aderezar. Ruth se ocupó del postre. Los aperitivos y segundos platos los encargaron a un restaurante cercano.
Poco antes de las nueve de la noche sonó el timbre y las dos hermanas, elegantes para la ocasión, recibieron con sincronizada amabilidad al invitado. La velada transcurrió agradable, con estudiado desenfado la conversación tocó áreas variadas desde política e historia social a la música y artistas contemporáneos televisivos. Amparada en un segundo plano, Ruth analizaba los gestos del Jefe de su hermana. Parecía una persona seria, casi rígida de principios, pero fuerte y apuesto, de una belleza escultural en sus rasgos, de ademanes lentos, que lo convertían en atractivo aún cuando su atlética constitución permaneciera en reposo. Influída por el cava, Ruth se atrevió a bromear con algún chiste sobre homosexuales, pero enseguida recobró la compostura. Sobre todo cuando el señor Martín se interesó por su trabajo, con tantas preguntas por sus preferencias y su bienestar a Ruth se le agrandaron los ojos y las expectativas. Blenda le hizo un guiño mientras recogía las copas, sí, a Ruth también le pareció entrever posibilidades, incluso no descartaba seguir los pasos de su hermana, aunque en algo no era igual a ella… Pero lo cierto es que aquel hombre le gustaba, ¡quién sabe!…
Cuando se despidieron, Blenda y Ruth se emplazaron al día siguiente para intercambiar sus confidencias, ahora estaban bastante cansadas, pero Blenda allanó el terreno…
-…Ya me he dado cuenta, Ruth. ¡Por mí, todo tuyo! Nunca tendría nada con un Jefe, ¿estás loca?…
Ruth albergaba más y más esperanzas:
-Tienes que citarle para repetir, iremos al restaurante de la Plaza… Ya hablaremos. ¡Hasta mañana, Blenda!
Esa noche el señor Martín llegó tarde a su casa, nadie le esperaba. Sin atisbo de cansancio comenzó a desvestirse. La cena con aquellas chicas lejos de aburrirle le había servido de prueba para controlar todos los pormenores de la situación. Formaba parte de su misión, había sido entrenado para soportar y escrutar los más insignificantes detalles de las relaciones humanas. Sin embargo el efecto de las especias le obligó a emitir un sonido gutural que no pudo refrenar. Se aflojó la corbata y cedió también la presión sobre el cuello. Tiró de las orejas hacia delante despojándose de la fina tira de piel que le cubría el rostro y que, con cuidado, posó sobre el líquido de la bandeja en el lavabo, pues debería servirle para el día siguiente. Quedaron al descubierto sus brillantes escamas verdes, iridiscentes, perfectas y ensambladas. La aleta dorsal de su espalda se liberó en una erizada cresta, al tiempo que sus ojos vidriosos, de amarillo oro, estrecharon la pupila. Los efluvios del aromatizado aliento le obligaron a chasquear su larga lengua bífida sin lograr evitar que otro ruido gutural se escapase…

El autor:
* Es una Colección “Son Relatos”, (c) Luis Tamargo.-

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