Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oregon Author Introduces New Sleuth

Sounds like a book review huh? Well, it is and the author is part of Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, Oregon. Ashland, known as a virtual hotbed of creativity that includes theatre, cabaret, poets, writers of all types, film festivals, film locations, and oh yeah, politics. But I regress...

Need some fun but brainy reading this summer? Look no further than the Tess Camillo Mysteries by Morgan Hunt. Southern Oregon's answer to Janet Evanovich, Morgan Hunt is awaiting the release of the third book in this series of song-inspired titles which include "Sticky Fingers" and "Fool on the Hill". Book three, "Blinded By the Light" is due for release this September.

"I could guess who wore the pants in their family, probably because she more often wore the skirts."

Take an ordinary life, add southern California, spice with San Diego and watch what happens to your average 40-something woman and see what you get. Tess Camillo is almost "Everywoman" in her quest for a good living, good health and a settled life...right? Nuh-uh. Here is a character that is unabashedly modern, grooves to 70's and 90's tunes and then finds herself more than curious about the death of another woman's partner. I won't tell you too much but along with the death-defying humor there is the death defying cancer survivor as well. And if that doesn't give you some grit, nothing else will. Personally I had a difficult time putting the book down because the pace was a good canter until the end when it went into full gallop. A great beginning to a good read.

"After all, he seemed to have no enemies. But if that's true, why did someone brutally murder him? Tess snoops at the homes of Hollywood music producers, at LegoLand, in church, and on a carousel to find her answers..."

In the second book, there are many candidates for
title of "Fool on the Hill". But there is only one woman who can figure out who it really is and why. Once again, Tess strays into a situation not of her own making but the mere shock value of the crime is enough to make anyone truly curious about the circumstances. Taken once again on a zippy and entertaining ride through the book's pages, you learn even a little more about our hero, though she would never consider herself one, such is her on and off again modesty but when she gets it right, the world knows about it. Characters like chords, each one has its own tune to play...

When Tess' work takes her to Albuquerque for a temp assignment, she decides to visit the Lightning Field, an earthworks art piece constructed of 400 lightning rods arranged in an intriguing way out in the New Mexican desert. The remote locale is disrupted when a fellow visitor is apparently killed by lightning. Tess knows it was no accident, and how she solves this crime is quite a shocker!

And so it is without a lot of fanfare that I say I am eager to read the third book that is coming out in the Fall. "Blinded by the Light" promises to propel us right along as Tess is thrust yet again into a murder scenario not of her choosing. Stay tuned!

Would you like to know more about the author?

(Morgan at Bloomsbury Books, Ashland)

Visit her website at Morgan Hunt Books.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Shells upon a shore...bits of our world


It has been another "quite awhile" since I actually wrote a post to post. In all truthfulness I have been uninspired, unmoved by all the things I could have commented or extrapolated on, within and without the Church.

Human suffering around the world: Darfur, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, China, Haiti, Somalia, Palestine...America, yeah, America. The indifference and callousness of supposed "leaders" to the suffering of their own people. I ask what can I do to make a difference? I pray hard, that's what I do and I also look around my own community and see what can be done to feed the hungry, care for the sick, shelter the homeless. And it is no different in any other country and local community around this world. But when disasters, natural or human made, occur, it will take more than praying to bring what is needed. It will take action, small and large, local and global, to relieve the suffering. God doesn't expect us to sit on our duffs and "have faith". He wants us to be faith in action, answering the very prayers we pray.

Episcopal Relief and Development can get to places the military can't. Go there to contribute and see what you can do to help your brother or sister in need. There is also Doctors Without Borders, physicians, surgeons, RN's, and other critical staff who pick up and go on a moments notice from all across America, Canada, and Europe. You can contribute to their work and read up on how they help millions in disaster zones and extreme need regions. And as always there is the American Red Cross covering the Midwest in the tornado and flooding zones. It's sister organization, the Red Crescent, covers the Middle East and Asia, and its needs. If we want peace in the Middle East, then feed the hungry and give medical help to those who need it. No one is going to listen to "talk" about peace if they don't see some pro-action. This is a case where actions do speak louder than words.

And remember, people are hungry and cold [or hot in sweltering climates], sick and destitute 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Giving on the "holidays" just doesn't cut it. And for our local community--our own backyard-- there is ACCESS Inc., the Salvation Army, United Way and the local Red Cross who are at work in our Valley to ease the hardship of our homeless and elderly, our disabled and our youth.


I have noticed some developments of note in the national Church and the wider Church in the last month or so. Lambeth is set to get underway not too long from now. Bishop Robinson is not invited but the GAFCON gang are, the very ones who wish to divide the Communion and cause dis-ease among the faithful, here and in their own countries. Witch hunts go on daily in the countries of the Global South for "homosexuals" or anyone accused of being homosexual. And places like Nigeria and Kenya think we are backward in our beliefs! We don't go around burning alive old people because someone suspects them of being gay. I was horrified to read that story on Reuters.

On the upside...

Australia has installed their first woman bishop in the Diocese of Perth, Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy. You can read about her here.

And you can read about the first woman bishop of the Diocese of Melbourne in Victoria province, Canon Barbara Darling in this article. I think it is exceptionally fitting that the "first cousins" of the English Church should lead the way for backward England in regard to the place of women in the Anglican Church and wider Communion. Canada, New Zealand, and now Australia have committed themselves to the future of the Church. Nothing like showing up the "first born" how to do things properly. Did you hear that Rowan? Hello!

Things political. I'll just say it. There is no two ways about it. I will vote in November for Barak Obama, but he is not my first choice. There. I said it.

And I am wearing my TeamHillary shirt as I type. I make no apologies for my choice. She stood her ground, she ignored her fellow Democratic naysayers and was dragged by the national media through mud and down dirt roads of blatant and despicable sexism but she kept it together and did not give them any satisfaction by responding to the drivel spouted by Keith Oberman or Chris Matthews, or any of the other media jocks. If they had behaved as badly with racial epithets against Barak Obama, they wouldn't have jobs today. But who cares or gives a damn about an honorable woman getting figuratively spat upon and symbolically stoned for saying "no, I won't quit" or "I will not give up"? Those who have supported her do give a damn, and that includes me, and it has made me a stronger woman for watching her throughout this process. Hillary Clinton is an inspiration to enlightened women everywhere...whether they will admit it or not.

Today [June 7th] is the anniversary of the death of James Byrd Jr, who died a most brutal death in 1998 by three white men in the town of Jasper TX by dragging him down a dirt road chained up behind a pickup truck . What good can come of such a horrific crime? Oddly enough better racial relations in that very town. The memorial to a murdered son, killed senselessly, is a tribute to his family and to what forgiveness and reconciliation really means. Read and inwardly digest...


I'll be writing about some books I have been reading lately in my next post so stay tuned. One of them is by a local author! Truly an undiscovered talent right here at home!