Books: Many Bloody Returns

cov-Harris-ManyBloodyReturns-photo-20150111This is a collection of short stories edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. The quality is good. Contributors include Jim Butcher. I got this copy from the public library by reserving it so it’s sent from its home library to mine.

I prefer the humourous to the horrific. These are the stories and a version of their author introductions:

  • Dracula Night. Charlaine Harris writes the Sookie Stackhouse novels. She also writes about Harper Connelly, a lightning-struck locator of corpses. Her Website is
  • The Mournful Cry of Owls. Christopher Golden has written The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, and Of Saints and Shadows, as well as the Body of Evidence teen thrillers. He is a coauthor, with Thomas E Sniegoski, of the dark fantasy series The Menagerie, the young readers fantasy series OutCast, and the comic book miniseries Talent. He collaborated with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola to write Baltimore, or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. His website is
  • I Was a Teenage Vampire. Bill Crider is the author of fifty published novels and many short stories. These include Too  Late to Die, Dead on the Island, A Murder Among the OWLS, and, with his wife, Judy Crider, the short story “Chocolate Moose.” See
  • Twilight. Kelley Armstrong is the author of the paranormal suspense series Women of the Otherworld. Her website is
  • It’s My Birthday, Too. Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files novels about Harry Dresden, wizard, and of the Codex Alera series. Look for him at
  • Grave-Robbed. P.N. Elrod is the author of twenty novels and as many short stories. She is best known for The Vampire Files series, about undead detective Jack Fleming. She has co-written three novels with Nigel Bennett. She can be found at http://www.vampwriter. com.
  • The First Day of the Rest of Your Life. Rachel Caine is known for the Weather Warden series and her new young adult series, The Morganville Vampires. She has written many other books and short stories. Her website is
  • The Witch and the Wicked. Jeanne C. Stein is the author of the Anna Strong series, starting with The Becoming and Blood Drive. Her website is
  • Blood Wrapped. Tanya Huff has written over 25 books, including the Vicky Nelson Blood series, adapted for television as Bloof Ties. This short story is from the world of the Smoke (and Blood) books. See
  • The Wish. Carolyn Haines has written more than fifty novels. The latest in her Mississippi Delta series is Ham Bones. She also writes single novels, such as Hallowed Bones and Penumbra. Her website is
  • Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two. Tate Hallaway has written other novels for the characters in this story: Tall, Dark, and Dead and Dead Sexy. See
  • Vampire Hours. Elaine Viets is the author of two mystery series. The Dead-End Job series includes Mystery with Reservations. Her Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series includes Accessory to Murder. Her website is
  • How Stella Got Her Grave Back. Toni L. P. Kelner is the author of the Laura Fleming Southern mystery series and the Where Are They Now series about a freelance entertainment writer. See



Home Improvement: Undead Edition

Book cover shows a house with a hand reaching out of the ground towards it

Home Improvement: Undead Edition

The short stories in Home Improvement: Undead Edition are about supernatural creatures who take on the problems of renovating. Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner are the editors. This is their fourth collection.

The editors have produced other collections throwing together random concepts to see what the authors could do with them:

  • Many Bloody Returns, about “vampires and birthdays;”
  • Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, about “werewolves and the holidays;” and
  • Death’s Excellent Vacation, about “creatures out of their normal habitat.”

The stories entertained me so I’ll be ordering the others from the library.

The stories are these:

  • If I had a Hammer by Charlaine Harris
  • Wizard Home Security by Victor Gischler
  • Gray by Patricia Briggs
  • Squatters’ Rights by Rochelle Krich
  • Blood on the Wall by Heather Graham
  • The Mansion of Imperatives by James Grady
  • The Strength Inside by Melissa Marr
  • Woolsley’s Kitchen Nightmare by E. E. Knight
  • Through this House by Seanan McGuire
  • The Path  by S. J. Rozan
  • Rick the Brave by Stacia Kane
  • Full-Scale Demolition by Suzanne McLeod
  • It’s All in the Rendering by Simon R. Green
  • In Brightest Day by Toni L. P. Kelner

The secret of Narnia

Michael Ward

New from the world of literature: Michael Ward has detected the organizing principle behind the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis: each of the seven books evokes the mood of one of the seven medieval heavens: Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Sol, Luna, Mars, and Saturn. At first glance it makes sense. That’s why the Christian theme is a minor one and why there’s a Father Christmas but no Nativity.

He has two books that analyze the parallels between medieval cosmology and the seven volumes. There’s a more scholarly critique called Planet Narnia and a more popular book called The Narnia Code. They came out a couple of years ago so you may have heard of them. You can read about them at Planet Narnia.

Hat tip to Jeffrey D. Koonistra, the book reviewer at Analog. He gets a point deducted, though for referring to representative people of their day as Medieval Man and Twenty-first-Century Man.

Mark Bittman’s soups

Mark Bittman, if I recall correctly, wrote the big book called How to Cook Evrything, which came in a yellow stand-up binder. Now he’s back with how to make the four basic kinds of soups.

And you’ll need no special techniques, no advance preparation and, for the most part, not much time. You can use just about any vegetable (or bean) you have on hand. These are not stone soups, but they’re close.

I’ve [Mark has] created four essential categories: creamy (vegetables puréed with dairy); brothy (a strained vegetable stock, with quick-cooking ingredients added); earthy (with beans); and hearty (the vegetables sautéed first, to deepen their flavor).

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Founder of Arts & Letters Daily dies

You might know of Arts & Letters Daily: it’s interesting to read. Now I find out that it was written by one person, Dennis Dutton, who has just died.

Denis Dutton, founder and editor of Arts & Letters Daily and a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, has died. Born in California, Mr. Dutton received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He created Arts & Letters Daily in 1998. The Chronicle of Higher Education purchased the widely praised site in 2002.

“Denis was the creative force behind Arts & Letters Daily and wrote all the items on the page himself, even when he was on vacation,” said Phil Semas, president and editor in chief of The Chronicle. “He is nearly irreplaceable. Even so, we intend to continue Arts & Letters Daily in the spirit in which Denis created and nurtured it.”

Evan Goldstein of The Chronicle and Mr. Dutton’s longtime collaborator, Tran Huu Dung, a professor of economics at Wright State University, will continue to produce the site.

The books of MacDonald Harris

Norman Geras of Normblog regularly asks others to review a book or play that was important to them. In this article, Philip Pullman writes about the books of MacDonald Harris.

MacDonald Harris was the pseudonym of Donald Heiney (1921-1993), a naval veteran and distinguished professor of literature.

Philip Pullman says

I’m astonished, really, that such a clever and interesting writer should have vanished so completely: I’ve spoken of him to several well-read people, and none of them has heard of him. Perhaps he lacked some vital ingredient, that mysterious mana that brings commercial and critical success to many writers nowhere near as good. Perhaps it was just that he was too interested in too many kinds of life, and didn’t stick to one sort of book. Perhaps he never quite managed a single undeniable masterpiece, whose gravitational field would have pulled his other work into prominence. Besides, none of his novels has been filmed.Buy him while you can, is my advice. Here is a full list of his novels:

Private Demons (1961); Mortal Leap (1964); Trepleff (1968); Bull Fire (1973); The Balloonist (1976); Yukiko (1977); Pandora’s Galley (1979); The Treasure of Sainte Foy (1980); Herma (1981); Screenplay (1982); Tenth (1984); The Little People (1986); Glowstone (1987); Hemingway’s Suitcase (1990); Glad Rags (1991); A Portrait of My Desire (1993).

If you Google his name, you’ll find a short and interesting website about his life and work.

Book review: Wuthering Heights

wutheringNorman Geras of Normblog regularly asks others to review a book or play that was important to them. In this article, Elizabeth Baines reviews Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s a book that she read as a teen and then as an adult.

Norm writes:

Elizabeth Baines is a prize-winning radio playwright and the author of numerous short stories as well as two novels, The Birth Machine and Body Cuts. More recently she has become an occasional actor, and has written for the theatre, producing her own stage plays, ‘Drinks with Natalie’ and the award-winning ‘O’Leary’s Daughters’.

Elizabeth Baines on Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Which book has been most important to me? Well, how would I choose? Jane Eyre or David Copperfield, both of which, aged eleven, I bought from Woolworth’s with my saved-up pocket money and which most certainly coloured my emotional landscape and increased my (already formed) determination to write? Or George Orwell’s essays, which, when I was at university, hit me right in the eyes with a clean fresh blast of political air and ensured that in future I would be aware of the politics of whatever I wrote? But wait – wasn’t I once asked this question before, and didn’t I answer unhesitatingly, ‘Wuthering Heights‘, because this novel, with its striking structure – a narrative within a narrative, yet containing other narratives, a layering of voices and perspectives – has probably had the greatest impact on my own writing

Read on