Friday, December 31, 2010

Irene's Characters

I keep the faces of my characters posted on a bulletin board in front of my computer while I work on my books. For Irene Fleming's silent movie series, these are often the faces of actual silent film stars that I find on the 'net. It struck me that you might like to meet some of them.

Here's Emily, the protagonist of The Edge of Ruin and The Brink of Fame. She is portrayed here by Billie Burke, even though the real (more or less) Billie Burke makes a cameo appearance early in the second book. Emily wears hats with great flair, as does Miss Burke.

Here is he husband, the handsome, feckless Adam Weiss, portrayed by the divine John Gilbert. Emily loves her husband dearly, although he is unworthy of her. They are in business together in Fort Lee, New Jersey, producing silent movies.
Their archenemy, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison (played by himself) never appears in the book, but hovers over the couple as an eminence grise who seeks to put them out of business. Their silent partner, Howie Kazanow, hovers over them as well. Vultures, vultures everywhere. As if things weren't bad enough, a murder occurs on the set. Is Adam the killer? One of the actors? Or someone else altogether? Can our Emily find out in time to save her husband? Can she finish the four movies in time to fulfill the contract with Kazanow?

Here are a few of the actors in the Weiss's little company:

Faye Winningly
(Olive Thomas)

Erno Berg
(Gosta Eckman) 

Vera Zinovia
(Theda Bara)

Robert Montmorency/Chalmers
(John Barrymore)

There are others that I kept pictures of while I was working: the chief of police, the labor agitator, the two Mohawk Indians. But you should read the book and see them in your own mind's eye. The Edge of Ruin. Later I'll show you pictures of the characters in The Brink of Fame, where Emily goes to Hollywood.

--Kate Gallison/Irene Fleming

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Steph's Favorite Reads

In the tradition of end-of-the-year retrospectives, our friend Stephanie Patterson, an avid bibliophile, has made a list of the books she most enjoyed reading in 2010. We offer here, excerpted from the list, her favorite crime novels. I'm particularly delighted that she was kind enough to include mine.

Portobello, by Ruth Rendell
Eugene Wren, owner of an antiques shop, wishes to marry his physician girl friend, but how will he explain his addiction to candy lozenges that he can’t resist? He discovers an envelope containing 115 pounds and his fiancee becomes entangled with the rather disturbed young man who claims the money. Add in a petty thief and the born again uncle with whom he lives and you have all the ingredients of the sort of book Ruth Rendell does so well. (Thanks to Harvey Spikol for lending me a copy even before it was available in this country).

Bust, by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
This is one of the funniest novels I’ve read in a while. It’s a sendup of the noir novel of the 1940s and 1950s. A middle-aged business man seeks to get rid of his wife and marry his much younger, sexier secretary. Alas, the secretary introduces her IRA boyfriend into the mix and there are murder plots, crosses and double crosses galore. This book will probably be funnier to readers who are familiar with the conventions of noir mystery (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity).

Free Reign, by Rosemary Aubert
Ellis Portal is a former judge who becomes homeless because he can’t keep his anger in check. He loses everything and ends up living on the streets. His observations on the differences between life among the privileged and life on the streets are fascinating, and while the powerful judge to homeless person premise originally struck me as a stretch, Ms Aubert made me a believer.

De Kok and the Somber Nude, by A. C. Bantjer
Inspector De Kok is an Amsterdam policeman whose approach to his cases may actually please all those fans of Scandanavian mysteries. DeKok does a decidedly low tech investigation of a missing young girl who, with her sister, owns a flower shop. Fans of Jan Willem Van der Wettering and Georges Simenon’s Maigret series may enjoy this as well. While the clues are interesting, it’s the personality of the sleuth and the setting that make the story most enjoyable.

Innocent, by Scott Turow
A willing suspension of disbelief is definitely required here. Could a man we’re told is a brilliant attorney be so breathtakingly stupid twice in his life? Well, if the answer is “No” then we don’t have a novel. However, if you can accept the stupidity you have yourself a good read. And Turow, who still practices law, does very fine courtroom scenes.

Nobody’s Angel, by Jack Clarke
Mr Clarke evidently self-published this initially and sold it to people who rode in his cab. Eddie Miles is the cabbie who tries to figure out why his savvy--and now dead-- fellow cabbie, Lenny, would go to the notoriously dangerous Cabrini-Green projects in the wee hours of the morning. Miles solves the mystery, but the pleasure of the book is his evocation of the life of a cabdriver and his observations about Chicago.

The Edge of Ruin, by Irene Fleming
Irene Fleming is the nom de plume of the effortlessly amusing Kate Gallison. These mysteries take place in the early 20th century during a time when movies were made in New Jersey (mostly by Thomas Edison). Emily Weiss’ husband, Adam, sells everything in order to go into the movie business in competition with Mr. Edison. The suspense and great wit of this novel are a result of that resolve.

Murder is My Business, by Brett Halliday
This novel, written during WWII, is a perfect noir piece of the period. Here we have great alcohol consumption (though not every character feels the effects), sex, and corruption among the wealthy and powerful. Noir novels are wonderful to read. The prose is tight, the atmosphere is seedy and whodunit is rarely the issue. The plot usually concerns losers in a downward spiral and the reader comes along for the descent.

Cracker Bling, by Stephen Solomita
Just minutes out of jail, Judson Two-Bears Hootier hooks up with the reliably unstable Bubba, a ex-con once headed for a pro basketball career. Rather than go home. Hootie joins forces with Bubba and his unusual girlfriend, Amelia. The movements of these three are being tracked by Chigorin, an NYPD cop known as “The Russian.” While the publisher is selling this as a noir novel, it doesn’t really fit the bill (Neither I nor my husband were filled with despair when I finished the book). Solomita does a great job with just four characters and an eye for the quirks of human behavior.

The Wounded and the Slain, by David Goodis
James and Cora Bevan are trying to liven up their dead marriage during a vacation in Jamaica. Alas, it’s not working. James is just another doomed sucker whose life is spiraling out of control while he drinks. The portrait of parts of Jamaica that tourists aren’t meant to see and Goodis’ stripped down prose are well worth the read.
The novels of George Pelecanos (for a complete listing see the website
I read all of Pelecanos this year. He writes about Washington, D.C. (and I don’t mean Capitol Hill). Best known as one of he writers and editors of “The Wire,” he has written these novels over about 20 years. His bad guys are very bad and his good guys are very flawed. He was honored at this year’s Noircon and during an interview there (conducted by Laura Lippman) said he could think of nothing more noir than being doomed by where you were born. The books are brutal, depressing and wonderful. And every life, no matter how ghastly, seems to have a soundtrack.

--Stephanie Patterson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Leighton Gage

It is my great pleasure to introduce Leighton Gage, an extraordinary crime writer, author of the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series of murder mysteries set in modern-day Brazil, where Leighton resides.  Just this past month, Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review said of his latest, EVERY BITTER THING, “…about this detective: the elasticity of his ethics, not his essential integrity, is what makes him irresistible.”

A generous and delightful colleague, Leighton writes here about a historic Brazilian criminal.
--Annamaria Alfieri

The Bandit King

He was born in 1897, in the interior of the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. It is harsh country with little water and much cactus, brilliantly described by the great Brazilian writer, Euclydes da Cunha, in his classic work Os Sertoes (The Backlands).
It was a time and a place of nicknames. Almost everyone had one. His was Lampião ( lampost) probably because he was so tall and thin. It was sometimes spelled Lampeão. The members of his gang called him Captain Virgulino; his proper name was Virgulino Ferreira da Silva.
Lampião began his life as a leather worker. Somehow, at the age of twenty-five, he got in trouble with the law. The police raided his home. In the scuffle, his father was shot to death. It was an act Lampião vowed to make the lawmen regret. And many did. From then until the end of his life, Lampião murdered every policeman he came across.
But, having resolved to be a bandit, he didn’t target only policemen. He robbed old women in their beds. He participated in mass rapes. He cut out the tongue of a woman who’d informed on him. And he removed a man’s eyeballs with a knife just because it amused him to do so. He plundered, and terrorized, and tortured. He was a cold-blooded killer, and a high price was put on his head.
And yet, that’s not the way most young Brazilians see him. To them, he’s a Robin Hood figure, a guy who robbed the rich to help the poor. How did the transformation from repugnant thug to venerated folk hero come about? Partly, I think, because the region he operated in had long been ruled by a few powerful families. The popular psyche called out for an anti-establishment figure – and Lampião filled the bill. Partly, too, because his story contains a modicum of romance. He and his girlfriend robbed together, killed together, had a child together and died together. Here she is, the woman all Brazilians know as Maria Bonita (Pretty Mary).

 The couple’s reputation grew with a form of entertainment very popular at the time: “cord literature”, so-called because it was displayed hanging from cords stretched across the front of booths in street markets. The stories were illustrated with woodcuts. 

They were often written in rhyme, often set to music. 
 Later, those early stories gave rise to TV programs and feature films which took a sympathetic view of Lampião and his gang.

(And invariably infuriated my father-in-law, and dear friend, Joel de Britto, who knew, from personal experience, what kind of people Lampião and his girlfriend really were.)

The end for the couple came on a beautiful morning in July of 1938. Here’s the place where it happened, the Grota de Angico, a hideout which, until then, the bandits always considered to be their safest one of all.
Oriented by a greedy informer anxious to cash in on the reward, four dozen soldiers surrounded the camp. The two groups of adversaries were about evenly matched, but their pursuers had machine guns, and the gang did not. Some few escaped the slaughter, but those few didn’t include Lampião and his companion. They, and several other key members of the band, were decapitated on the spot.

The heads were displayed throughout the country before winding up at the Nina Rodrigues Museum in Salvador, Bahia, where they remained on display for almost thirty years.
This last photo is of the youngest member of Lampião’s gang,  Antonio Alves de Souza, nicknamed Volta Seca (It means something like “the return of drought”). He was taken alive and sentenced to 145 years in prison, but pardoned after having served only twenty. He took a job as a railway brakeman (that’s the uniform he’s wearing in the photo) married, and had seven children.
There is a song associated with Lampião that almost every Brazilian knows. The gang used to sing it when they rode in to plunder a town. It’s called “Mulher Rendeira” (The Lacemaker) and, some years before his death, someone got Volta Seca to record it. You can listen to it here.
Today, it’s no more than a haunting melody. Back then, it struck terror into the hearts of many who heard it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turning Soot into Gold

Today is my niece’s birthday. I always feel sorry for someone who has a birthday during the holidays. No matter what anyone says, the loot is always less than for someone whose birthday is say—in April or July. It’s really a crime for mothers to give birth in December. They should be more careful in March. I knew someone who refused to give birth on Halloween because she was afraid her child would turn out to be a witch or a ghoul. She held off until 12:01 am. So I know it can be done.

My niece is not resigned to her fate, however. She has learned since she knew how to make lists, to ask for more and look forlorn. Giving guilt trips is her specialty. Make them pity me for being born at such an awkward time, thinks she. Force them to give me more and better gifs to make up for my tragedy, is her philosophy. And it works.

As I go out to shop for her, dirty snow clogging the gutters, a frigid wind biting my nose, the post-holiday sale signs sagging in the shop windows, I find myself on the verge of tears. And I reach deep in my pockets to buy her even more than if she had been born in July.

Robin Hathaway

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

As I was saying, I received a slew of crime novels and true-crime books submitted for the Hammett Prize 2011 for ‘literary excellence’ given each year by the International Association of Crime Writers/ North American Branch. I must now upgrade the total to 193. I mention the number because my wife does, over and over. She does this in making the point that I should not delude myself that I might keep them (hard-covers only, of course), stuffing them onto the groaning shelves of the bookcases on the three floors of our row-house in historic Downtown Albany. She has a point.

In taking this insensitive tone, my Rose turns a deaf ear (though all-seeing eye, I admit) to my claim to Bibliophile status. Not some ethereal lover, I must possess my books, fondle them, weigh their heft, gloat over the sewn bindings; swaddle them, front to back, in Bro-Dart plastic dust covers. “It’s me or the books,” she says. No contest…

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (HarperCollins Pub.) opens in a rural Mississippi Town. We’re in the point-of-view of 41-year-old Larry Ott, a mechanic living a solitary existence on the family farm, his only company a coop full of chickens named after the wives of U.S. presidents. As a teenager, he took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never heard from again. He was never charged but always suspected in her disappearance. Twenty years have passed, it is now the late 1990s, and another young girl is missing. Silas “32” Jones, his only boyhood friend, is the Town Constable, a black man, a former high school baseball star, with a secret from the past that binds them still. Chapter two is in the point-of-view of Silas.

The first chapter is beautifully constructed, not only setting the story in rapid motion but, in the best tradition of fair-plotting, contains the seeds of the ending. ‘Ghosts’—here the protagonists’ past history—inform present action: a characteristic of the very best crime fiction being written. I’m thinking, particularly, of the novels of T. Jefferson Parker whose Iron River is a stand-out this year, and in past years Dennis Lehane’s unforgettable Mystic River and Don Winslow’s terrific Power of the Dog, to name just a few.

Tom Franklin is a poet in prose (a literary cousin to James Lee Burke), particularly in describing:

“Later he caboosed the procession to a graveyard miles out in the country, whites only buried there, lovely landscaped grounds, shaded by live oaks with Spanish moss slanted in the wind like beards of dead generals. Nothing like the wooded cemetery where Alice Jones lay under a little rock on the side of a hill eaten up with kudzu, the plastic flowers blown over and strewn by the wind…”

And this:

“Her breasts were little things under her top; he kept trying not to look at them. She had a concave figure, walking with a little hook to her, her belly in, as if waiting to absorb a blow. Today she wore sandals, and he liked her white freckled feet and red toenails…”

I wish I’d written that.

The thing about Franklin’s style, the metaphors, is, of course, their startling originality. They’re unself-conscious, call no attention to themselves, just suddenly in your face. His images are always earthbound, earthy, instantly seen in the mind’s eye.

We read mysteries because we can count on being taken out of ourselves, dropped into another world. Our best authors make that world vividly dense. Franklin does that for rural, small town Mississippi in the late 1970’s and late 1990’s. Interestingly, the racial divide of that time is painted in muted tones, simply as background and setting for the story he’s telling: very effective, very moving. Franklin describes Crooked Letter as "hopeful" compared to his other two novels: the first, Hell at the Breech, is a murder mystery set in a rural area of Franklin's native Alabama in 1897; His second, Smonk, a very atypical western set in Old Texas, Alabama, in 1911.

The book’s title? You may remember it from grammar school:

“M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I
Crooked letter-crooked letter-I

Don’t miss this one. Franklin won an Edgar a few years back for his debut collection of short stories: Poachers.

Next week, let’s talk about T. Jefferson Parker’s Iron River, where the ATF task force cops patrol the “iron river”, the flow of guns from U.S. dealers to Mexican drug cartels. Meet the ‘Zetas’. Very bad, very Noir.

Robert Knightly

Friday, December 24, 2010

Here's a Present for you

It's Christmas Eve. In the words of the bard, "The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallowed and so gracious is the time."

In the spirit of  wholesomeness, I'd like to offer you my recipe for chocolate cherry cookies, which are completely bewitching in any season. If you were here, I would give you a couple to try, but as you aren't, you must bake them yourself:

Kate's Cherry Chocolate Cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes to mix, ten minutes to bake
Makes 6 dozen


3 sticks butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, rum, or Curacao
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/8 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cherries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla or other flavoring and beat until fluffy.
  3. In another bowl, thoroughly whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add chips, nuts, and cherries, and combine with butter mixture until well blended.
  4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake ten minutes. Remove from oven, let set for a minute, and transfer to a cooling rack. 

Simple and tasty. Happy holidays.

--Kate Gallison

Monday, December 20, 2010

Writing Takes a Back Seat

This time of year, my writing career goes on the back burner, unless you’re talking about writing cards. There they sit, shiny and new, stacked on my desk, address book open to “A”, a new roll of stamps ready to go.

But I look at them with deep dread.

Once I begin, I know it will be an all-nighter. But the longer I put it off, I know the longer the night will be. As Kate told us, when she asked us to write our blogs, “Think of it as a college term paper—that’s due tomorrow.” Thanks, Kate. That’s all I needed to complete my writer’s block.

Maybe I should forget about sending cards this year and send valentines instead. At least they would have less competition. My card might be the only one in the mailbox! It would really make an impression and be remembered. (They might even attract some swains.)

But won’t my friends be disappointed, if they don’t hear from me this year? They might even think I’m dead! I’d better bite the bullet, grab my pen, and get started. Maybe just one little cup of hot chocolate first, to give me energy? Or a quick cat nap?


Robin Hathaway

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Judging for the Hammett Prize

In early February, I was asked if I wanted to be a reader of all the books submitted for the Hammett Prize 2011. Lest you think I have star-power to be so singled out, know that the Chair of the Committee is a friend. The Hammett is awarded by the International Association of Crime Writers (IACW/ North American Branch) each year to a work of ‘literary excellence’, usually a novel or true-crime book. I had heard from another friend who had been such a reader that the job entailed reading and judging, in his year, some 300 books. Undaunted,  I heard like a bee buzzing in my ear  that  publishers and authors themselves would be  sending me 300 hardcover books. To keep. That decided me. Bring ’Em On! I said.

The Hammett Prize (named after you-know-who) is a ‘Thin Man’ trophy sculpted by a toney artist. Nice! But no money. But a rousing presentation at a Mystery Convention. Next September 20-21st  at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers (NAIBA) conference at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City. Every other year it’s at ‘Bloody Words’ in Toronto. Only American or Canadian authors might submit books published during 2010. December 1, 2010 was the deadline.

So…I ‘read’ only 189 books--disappointing! I’d been promised 300-- in search of  the cream of  the ‘literary’ mystery crop. My four fellow readers were reading the same titles at the same time. I say ‘read’ because within a few pages, no further than Chapter One, you knew if you were holding the real McCoy.  No purpose would be served in plodding on. I am not one of those sturdy readers who feel a religious calling to read on to the painful end.  So… What did I find?

First, many of the true-crime entries were paperbacks, of the Chainsaw-Freddie stripe. The hardbacks were better, more honest reads, usually in-depth recountings of  sensational murders or serial killers, old and knew. Typical titles: ‘The Devil’s Rooming House: the True Story of  America’s Deadliest Female Serial Killer’ and ‘Killer Colt’, set in Gilded Age New York City.

My big discovery, however: Not many of us dabble in ‘literary crime-writing’, defined as a published work of adult fiction or narrative nonfiction, describable as about crime, or a suspense, thriller, mystery or espionage work of literary excellence. For the most part, members of our tribe write solidly-plotted, full-bodied character-d page-turners to the delight of our legion of fans. Our literary brethren obviously do as well or they wouldn’t continue to be published. But they have something more: what I think of as the literary gene because their names are known to us, and they’re repeaters.

What makes a mystery literary? The language, no doubt, but surely the dimension of  the book, its breadth and capacity to awe  us. Analysis was unnecessary, I just knew, felt when I was reading such a creature, either right off or later on.

I selected my ten, it wasn’t hard to do, they just stood out. In my next column, I’ll talk about each book and its author.

--Robert Knightly

Friday, December 17, 2010


People want to know sometimes why I write about the early part of the twentieth century, or why I call myself Irene Fleming in order to do it. It's complicated, I guess, but it may have something to do with my grandmother.

My grandmother was a young nurse in a hospital in Brooklyn about the time of the events that take place in The Edge of Ruin. (How she used to love nurse books! I could never write one of those, any more than I can write real romance novels. Why is that? Can it be that I know even less about real romance than I do about nursing? But I digress.) My grandmother, whose name was Irene, told me many great stories about her life in nurses' training.

A well-bred, gently reared Canadian girl, she was a fish out of water in New York City. The patients were poor immigrants, for the most part, and being unwashed, most of them smelled bad. Shifts lasted sixteen hours, twenty-four if you were on private duty. Hazardous. Fearing germs, she washed her hair daily, a bad idea given the harsh soaps of the time. Once a patient tried something rude while she was asleep in a chair.

The young nurses were trained in deportment and elocution as well as good medical practice. Most of the girls in her class--Jersey girls, New York girls--could not properly pronounce "I laughed to see the calf run down the path."  They said, "I lee-uffed." "I lahffed to see the cahf run down the pahth," was how my grandmother said it. The right way.

The hospital people gave her handy tips  for surviving in the city. "What do you do when you encounter a masher on the elevated?" she asked me one day, rhetorically.

I wanted to say, "What's a masher, Granny? What's the elevated?" But instead I said, "I don't know. What?"

"You stare at his feet."


"If you keep looking at his feet, soon everyone will look at his feet. He will be so embarrassed  that he will get off the train."

Now, this is a piece of advice I have never had occasion to use. I suspect that modern mashers are incapable of feeling embarrassment, not even if their flies are open, not even if every single person on the train (it would be the subway, now) were staring at them. Very few people in the modern day feel anything like shame.

This is why I wanted to go back to the days when Granny was young, maybe even why I called myself Irene, after my grandmother. I know that things weren't so very different then. Terrible things went on. But there was outrage. There was shame. There was an expectation that people would at least try to be decent.

Also, there were hats. My grandmother was very big on hats.

--Kate Gallison

Monday, December 13, 2010

Here we are!

Welcome to the latest and hottest in mystery writing blogs, the Crime Writers' Chronicle. On Wednesdays you'll hear from Annamaria Alfieri, on Fridays, Kate Gallison, on Sundays, Robert Knightly, and then on Mondays, Robin Hathaway. In between times there will be guests, comments, contests, low comedy and highbrow entertainment. Look in on us. It will be time well spent.

Who are we?

Robert Knightly retired from the NYPD as a Lieutenant in 1987, then worked for the next 18 years as a trial lawyer in the Manhattan and Queens Criminal Courts for the NYC Legal Aid Society. Born in Brookyn, he never lived outside NYC till moving to Albany in 2007. Now he practices law in the Criminal and Family Courts in Albany, Troy and Schenectady. He sold a TV pilot script, "The System," to Aaron Spelling-TV Productions and NBC. His short stories are included in the Akashic Books anthologies of original crime fiction: Brooklyn Noir, Manhattan Noir, Queens Noir (which he also edited), Brooklyn Noir 3: Nothing But the Truth, and Best American Mystery Stories 2007. His first novel, Bodies In Winter, was published by Severn House in 2009; a sequel, The Cold Room, is to be published by Severn in 2011. He is a past president of the NY Chapter of MWA, and past president of the Upstate NY Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Robin Hathaway is the creator of the Doctor Fenimore and Doctor Jo Banks mystery series. In 1998, her first Doctor Fenimore book, The Doctor Digs a Grave, won the prestigious Agatha Award for best first novel. Sleight of Hand, a Doctor Jo Banks mystery, won Deadly Ink's David G. Sasher, Sr., award for best mystery published in 2008. Robin is now working on a stand-alone novel set at Cape May Point during WWII. This is a big leap for her and she hopes she won't fall on her face. Her husband, two daughters, their husbands, and her three grandchildren hope so, too. Luke, the eldest at 7, is working on his first novel. Unlike his grandmother, he's starting early.
Robin's web page address is

Annamaria Alfieri is the author of City of Silver, a historical mystery published by St. Martin’s Press to critical acclaim. Deadly Pleasures magazine called it one of the best first novels of the year, and the Washington Post said, “As both history and mystery, City of Silver glitters.”

Writing as Patricia King, she is also the author of the short story “Baggage Claim,” in the anthology Queens Noir, a volume of Akashic Books’ award-winning Noir series. Her five books on business subjects include Never Work for a Jerk, which was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and the current Monster Boss. She lives in New York City.
See her web page at

Kate Gallison's writing credits include three private eye novels and five traditional mysteries, as well as a number of short stories. Under the name of Irene Fleming, she writes a series about silent movie production in the early twentieth century. The first of these, The Edge of Ruin, was published in April 2010. The sequel, The Brink of Fame, is due out in August of 2011. She lives in Lambertville, New Jersey, and is descended from a convicted Salem witch.
Her web site can be found at