Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Saylor's favorite books »


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Where To Buy The O Line Mystery books and ebooks:

On the right hand side are the links to purchasing both the eBooks and paperbacks of The O Line Mystery Book Series.

For Libraries

The O Line Mysteries are now available to all eReaders through Smashwords. Free downloads are also available through your local public library. If your library does not carry the title, please request it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Midwest Book Review is in!

The first book of the O Line was reviewed by Midwest Book Review :

"When justice fails, people take it into their own hands. "Saint Charles Place:  An O Line Mystery" is a novelization of the throwback to the Radio Drama, a podcast cult favorite.  M. Saylor Billings presents a humorous and exciting spin into the vigilante justice and the creative characters of Ohlone Island.  "Saint Charles Place: An O Line Mystery" is a fine read, not to be overlooked."

It's weird to read reviews of your own work. I was lucky that they were so even handed and kind.  They could have said, "What the hell is this shlock!"  or  "I could bespeaketh a derogatory remark if this twaddlewad rag deserved such impudence Lo! it does not even rise to the soles of my shoes!  Harumph!"  But a couple of words struck me a tad sideways.  The review said, "When justice fails" and "vigilante justice", I never thought of it that way, but yeah that's very true.  It is a humorous spin into vigilante justice...why didn't I think of that? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

LCC 2012 Banquet Dinner

I hate these things, banquet dinners at hotels.  The food is bad and I generally get stuck next to an absolute bore or worse and end up trying to make the best of a bad situation.  It's not that convention hotels have bad food it's just that it is impossible to make a good meal for 500+ people at the same time.  (Although this being Northern California I did see a lot of people eating at this one.) And when there is assigned seating everyone always put me next to the worst person because "Oh Saylor, you have such a good spirit with difficult people."  All ya'll are now on notice! 'Cause now I've had a taste now of what a good time a banquet dinner can be.  No more sitting me next to the shmo! No more dried chicken breast smothered with nasty sauce! Okay, here's what happened:

Now, I don't really know anyone from Adam or Eve at this thing.  I've met people, very nice people, but I wasn't planning ahead or really thinking ahead enough to realize I was walking into.  I get to the hotel and everyone is in groups around the bar and talking it up.  There's me, not making eye contact, not recognizing anyone specifically.  So I do the old playground act where you walk around as if you have a destination in mind hoping against hope an arm will reach out and stop you to chat. No such luck, I do a cursory lap and when I'm almost done with it, thinking: crap now what?  I catch Al - my breakfast buddy - out of the corner of my eye.  Al does this 'come on over' head bob at me and I think 'Oh no. Not Al.'  I'm kidding, I was so grateful I almost lost my cool.  Because you know, when you do the lap, you gotta play it cool.

So I sit down next to, are you ready for this?  William Kent Krueger.  Shut up! I kid you not!  I honestly didn't notice him at first because Al was wearing such an obnoxious tie I couldn't take my eyes off of it.  No seriously, Al looked like he got dressed in the throw away bin at the Goodwill store. And that's because Al is the most self-possessed person I've met since Phyllis Diller who, at the age of 90, was so smooth  she could be the most interesting woman in the world.  Anyway, what do you say to WKK?  I went with 'Hi, it's nice to meet you, I'm Saylor."  My other fleeting thought options were: Dude your shit is goooood and How the (F) did I get so (F-ing) lucky just now. So we chat for a few minutes, mainly about me and my little dog and pony books, because he's a pro at sighting crazy people and calming us down.

Things start to return to normal when another person shows up.  A me out here.  Despite the much maligned librarians of yesteryear I happen to think a lot of librarians have a touch of super hero in them.  Good librarians know things.  Important, obscure, and if they don't know the answer, they know where to find it, things. So, I'm good with the librarian.  This night has just turned book geek epic for me.  I realize, somehow in my giddy daze, I'm going to be having dinner with the Sacramento Library Director, W.K.K., and the chair of Bouchercon 2013.  And if you don't know what Bouchercon is stop reading right now and get out.  You don't deserve to read the denouement of this blog.

So dinner is going fine, we're at a table of like 10 people.  I have no idea who the other people are but they all had a deer in the headlights look about them. (And honestly who of us can blame them.)  So midway through the wine pouring we hear Rivkah say "Yes, that's so profound."
WKK:   What is?
Rivkah:  Al just said, when the revolution comes you need someone who's not drinking.
              (Blank stares. What revolution?)
Al:         No I did not.
Rivkah:  Yes you did and it was very profound.
Al:  (blank look at Rivkah) I did not say that.
Rivkah:  That's okay, it's true.
WKK:    You're planning a revolution?
Al:          There's no revolution. I said, (enunciating) when you do the wine tour you're going to need someone who's not drinking.
EVERYONE:  Bwhahahahahahaha.

Okay, it was funnier in person.  But you know me, I'm not a gusher, not easily given to unearned praise and idol worship. I keeps ma' cards close to ma' chest.  But really is there anything better than when you feel like a fish out of water, and you happen upon people who are self-possessed and relaxed in their skin and they say, 'come over and sit by me?'  In that situation, there is no greater gift.

Of course you know what this means now.  It means no more playing grab ass with the writing.  I have to do my very best with this next book.  I have standards now. I've had the epic book geek dinner. I have something to live up to.  Some day these three people will look at me and say, "I remember when you were walking around LCC 2012 like a lost sheep and we had to round you up...".  And worse yet,  I'm going to have to reload my good ju-ju jar by volunteering for Al at the Bouchercon in 2013. Damn you Al, the breakfast buddy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

LCC 2012 Afternoon Panels

The panels on the 1st Saturday afternoon set of panels included:  Forensics, Private Eyes, and 20th Century Mysteries.  But I chose the Action! which was described as authors improvising from their own books.  I took that literally and couldn't understand how would one improvise their book? I mean, don't you already know what you've written?  BUT it turned out to be more of a pantomime, with a person reading from their works and the other authors acting it out.
Now then, I am not a ready laughter.  I'm generally more interested in how people have crafted their performance, the beats they take to set a story up, the body language, and I'm often worried for the performer.  Also, I'm not naive, these authors are here at the fan-o-rama to sell books, to meet their audience too, but don't kid yourself, they're here to sell books. All that to say this:  I have never laughed so hard at a panel or comedy performance as I did watching Harley play dead, a pant-less Parnell, Clive's fake phone conversation,  Bill as a "blind" date, Donna giving birth or whatever that was, and Robin confused as to which character she was - running back and forth across the stage - in every reading, she just kept getting so involved in the reading.
I'm still chuckling about this whole 'thing' that happened.  You know, you'd think there would be some ego, or self-awareness or at least some self-preservation involved with these 'well known' authors. But no, that's not what happened.  They all bought into what they were doing, which was to entertain us - lock, stock and six smoking barrels.  It was one of those things I wish I had video taped.  Lee Goldberg sat across the aisle from me and I heard him catch his breath and mutter:  Man, am I glad I sat this one out. His tone did not indicate he thought, because they were a bunch of asses up there, he meant because he wouldn't have wanted to miss watching it.
This whole thing could not have been planned, I don't think anyone could have guessed how unbelievably funny it would turn out to be.  Needless to say it went over the 45 minute time allotment.  But no one cared. Whoever the person running the panel was, they were smart to let this one keep going. I left with a sore face and somewhat nauseous stomach. My hats off to this gang of six.  Comedy is the hardest thing in the world to pull off.  A lot of the authors involved here use a lot of humor in their books and you can't 'write' a sense of humor, you just have to have it inside your brain.  The next time I want a comedy/mystery you better believe I am going to find a Harley Jane Kozak, Clive Rosengren, Parnell Hall, Bill Fitzhugh,  or a Donna Andrews first.  I think Robin was an odd person out in the comedy writing realm here but don't think for a minute I'm not going to find one of her books, because she gained my trust.
Here's a couple of snaps I took between gasping for breath.

So I missed the second set of panels.  Partly because of the absolute exhaustion I felt after watching the above.  The Panels included A Game show, Sex in mysteries, A talk about location, and more paranormal mysteries. Not that I was uninterested, especially in the game show panel, but I needed to get home and rest and change before the banquet.  Which p.s. involves Al - my breakfast buddy and talk of a revolution.
But first, at the lunch break I met Rochelle Staab.  She writes the Mind for Murder Mystery Series, the first of which Who do, Voodoo?  is out now.  Bruja Brouhaha will be out in August of this year.  I don't like to shill in this blog and I'm not a reviewer but since I completely busted through that boundary with the above paragraph's I'm adding one more.  I haven't read Who do, Voodoo but I've added it to my list because when someone says something off the cuff funny I take notice. We were sitting around chit chatting about what attracts people to others or something like that and Rochelle says off-handed, "Yeah, I don't know what it is people see in one another, why they fall in love, it's always some (insert eyeroll) tragic reason."   It was such a smart and funny summation of the conversation, so yeah, I'm going to follow this one closely as well.

Monday, April 2, 2012

LCC Saturday Morning Panels

I opted for the YouTubing of Film panel.  No, it doesn't have a lot to do with writing or reading mysteries but it did have a lot to say about how we receive, access, and digest entertainment. I thought this panel could have been called: Is it democratization or the Big Dogs vs. The Dog and Pony Shows?  And who better to lead this panel but Lee Goldberg who has written in for the page and screen.  Spoiler alert:  Nothing was decided upon in this panel.  Either we're going to hell in a hand basket or it's a new and exciting world which must be navigated...kind of like when the printing press was invented and the radio was invented, the nickelodeon was invented (not the network, the film shows) and when television was invented...
Left to Right:  Stephen Buehler, Charles Rosenberg, Travis Richardson, Chantelle A. Osman, and Lee Goldberg.

Then on to the third panel of the day, criminal minds.  The panel was led by L.J. Sellers.
Left to Right:  L.J., William Kent Krudger, John Lescroart, Denise Hamilton, and Rick Reed.

It seems that there is always one panel of the day that really stands out in your mind and at the time, I thought it would be this one.  The writers on this panel were SUCH good story tellers, whether it is on the page or in person and improvising an answer to one of L.J.'s questions.  For the entire 45 minutes, you could hear a pin drop in that room.  Rick Reed quite literally had us sitting on the edge of our seats talking about his experiences as a policeman.  Honestly, he even flummoxed the other panelists. William Kent Krueger spoke about having compassion for the bad guy in his stories and asking questions of the characters back stories, i.e. Why is he a bad guy? Denise Hamilton talked about her experiences as a reporter and not being able to print stories, even though they were known to be true, due to liability issues and the newspaper.  Finally John Lescroart broke up the tension by saying, "I think I have experience envy."  Giving us all a much needed stress reliever. Well spotted.

I have to say, there were a 11 panels to chose from in the morning schedule, as you can see I chose three of the panels that most interested me.  There were also panels involving lawyers writing mysteries, supernatural mysteries, children and young adult...the list goes on.  

Breakfast and Trivia at LCC 2012

You'll have to excuse me for not blogging on sunday about saturday's convention activities...I was asleep.   Actually, long story short after 3 bites of my Saturday night dinner I was alerted to mushrooms in the dish and...massive allergies...I'm fine. Back to Saturday's convention activities this was the morning breakfast trivia crowd:
The trivia was led by Robin Burcell and James Rollins:

And they handed out free copies of James latest book, The Devil Colony.
But the key thing to remember here is I sat at a table where this guy, Al, was also seated.  Which was strange because I had breakfast with Al the morning before.  What's the likelihood, out of over 200 people, sitting next to someone twice? It was great though because we had a conversation about publishing and e-books, etc.  It made me wonder who this guy was?  And why do I keep running into him?
Which leads us to the first panel of the day Anglophilia, led by Jacqueline Winspear.
Left to Right:  Rhys Bowen, Michael Kurland, Catriona McPherson, Carola Dunn.

The only person here whose work I'm embarrassed to say I wasn't familiar with was Catriona.  I have remedied that situation now and I have a feeling this lass is going to be a breakout author in the near future.