Category Archives: Random

Won’t get fooled again.

In my new novel, one of the issues is privacy – how to keep out of the public eye. It’s about disappearing, going off the grid, and getting away without being tracked.

This video is a reminder of all the ways we do the opposite. And all the ways we can get fooled… again and again and again. Don’t be gullible.

Monday mania: Congressmen, cats, and more

First, this may be the most unusual book trailer for a novel I’ve ever seen. The narrator guarantees, “You’ll experience the horrors of the Tribulation, and the torture and grief of each character.” The trailer doesn’t identify any characters or describe the story in Armageddon. That’s what makes it unusual. But it assures us we’ll be terrified by “the overwhelming fear, torment, death and unimaginable destruction that will take place on Earth” after the Rapture. To judge by the novel’s cover, Jesus is riding to war, and it’s not going to be a dressage competition. The horse in the illustration certainly looks frightened.

Second: FBI probes Congressional skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee.

During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel.

“Many of the lawmakers who ventured into the ocean said they did so because of the religious significance of the waters.”

I’ve been to Tiberius, where the dip took place. These days it’s a bustling holiday resort. It has windsurfing, kayaking, beach volleyball, an annual 10K run… but Congressional Commando Open Water Swimming is a new sport. Fit, it seems, for the X-Games.

(Also, “ocean?” The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake.)

Finally, something ridiculous for a Monday. Game of Thrones opening sung by a cat.

(And if you want to get that out of your head, here’s the official version.)

Today in Crazytown: porta potties, piranhas, goat men

This is the world that we live in.

First, a Porta-potty bomber is on the loose in Issaquah, Washington. The police are reporting “Honey Buckets damaged by pipe bombs.”

I just can’t believe porta-potties are actually called “honey buckets.”

Second: Missing Wake Forest Baptist Monkey Found. My question: How did they determine the monkey isn’t a Methodist?

Third, let’s hope nobody decides to trim their nails with this. Man uses piranha as scissors.

Fourth, Bigfoot now has competition: “Goat man” spotted in mountains of northern Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah has wildlife officials worried he could be in danger as hunting season approaches.

Utah officials think the man may be an “extreme wildlife enthusiast.” They fear “the goat man might be accidentally shot or could be attacked by a real goat.”

The man appeared to be acting like a goat while wearing the crudely made costume, which had fake horns and a cloth mask with cut-out eye holes, Creighton said.

“I thought, ‘What is this guy doing?’ ” Creighton said. “He was actually on his hands and knees. He was climbing over rocks and bushes and pretty rough terrain on a steep hillside.”

Creighton said the man occasionally pulled up his mask, apparently trying to navigate the rocky terrain.

Well, he may dress like a goat, but he’s not a fool.

Finally, where’s that piranha when you need it? “Rafting gone wild” results in river brawl, 12 arrests.

The least they could have done was get the Baptist monkey to help with the full immersions.

Ransom River reviews: USA Today

It’s very cool that USA Today has picked my novel as one of “four new mystery/thrillers perfect for a hot summer day.” And it’s an honor to be included with Karin Slaughter, Lisa Unger, and Rebecca Cantrell.

USA Today reviews Ransom River:

If you can’t resist crime novels in which the innocent are perceived as guilty, look no further than this tightly wound tale that starts with gunmen raiding a courtroom in an attempted hostage taking.

Rory Mackenzie is one of the jurors and is soon looked upon as a conspirator with the gunmen. But why do the police think that? Rory, determined to ferret out the identities of the gunmen, falls into a pit of familial dysfunction that makes most other families pale in comparison.

A deadly crime committed in Rory’s childhood plays a prominent role, as do family greed and secrets and the cold-blooded depths to which people will sink for money. A chilly tale for a hot day at the beach.

And Bookloons calls the book a “fast-paced, suspenseful thriller that will keep readers glued to its pages.

Rory is a fearless, feisty heroine, determined to do what is right, while juggling her feelings for Seth and her worries about her family. If you’re looking for a summer read to lose yourself in as the pages fly by, Ransom River is the one.

Which is mighty nice, and a perfect way to make my weekend.

Take the stairs, not the escalator. No, really.

UPDATE: As always, I should have checked Snopes before posting. The photo’s a mockup. It was taken after a flood at Toronto’s Union Station, where there may have been hockey players floating in the water, but no sharks. Thanks to Chris Rice for reminding me never to trust what I see on the Internet. And now I am even more likely than ever to use this idea in a thriller.

Yes, I know I am in an undisclosed location and supposedly devoting every waking minute to ninja zen writer assault training, but I could not ignore this story:

Shark Tank Collapses at the Scientific Center in Kuwait.

And yes: I’d put a scene like this in one of my novels, but people would think it’s preposterous. But oh, my, is it tempting.

Thanks for the Stalker Award

Woo hoo — I have been voted this year’s Favorite Author on Social Media in Pop Culture Nerd’s Stalker Awards. Which is really a hoot, and makes me smile. Thank you, crime fiction fans who voted for me. I really appreciate it.

And Pop Culture Nerd tells me there is no awards ceremony, so there’s no danger of my dream coming true — that a little Stalker Award statuette would leap out of the bushes at me when I least expect it. And that’s all right with me.

This week in stupidity

More proof that faking your death, and spelling America, are harder than you think. Plus: Jersey Shore.

First — How Elvis CD trapped man who faked his own death for £850,000.

A father of four who faked his own death to claim more than £850,000 in insurance was caught when a friend attempted to use his HMV staff discount card to buy an Elvis CD, a court heard.

Hugo Jose Sanchez, 57, who worked as a web designer for the music retailer, orchestrated an elaborate plot involving his wife Sophie to embezzle a fortune and start a new life in Central America.

After taking out life insurance policies and building up large credit card debts, his wife contacted his employers telling them he had suffered a fatal heart attack while on holiday in his native Ecuador.

“The plan unravelled when a friend used Sanchez’s staff discount card to buy an Elvis CD, triggering an inquiry involving HMV, insurers and the police.”

When his wife presented his death certificate as proof of his demise, investigators discovered that it bore Sanchez’s fingerprints.

Pseudocide: Don’t try it at home.

Second — more evidence, as if any was needed, that proofreading is essential: Romney campaign spells ‘America’ wrong in new iPhone app.

After the “Amercia” gaffe was discovered, Twitter users took great glee in imagining what “Amercia” stood for and what policies Romney had planned for the nation, such as “Amercia-n exceptionalism.”

“Whew, I hear Mitt’s updating that misspelled Amercia on his app. He’s just going with Untied States now,” read one tweet.

Amercia, Amercia, God mend thine every flaw…

And finally — I am all for terrible creature features. But this movie has everything backward. It features the stars of Jersey Shore hunting maneating sharks, when it should be the other way around.