I am writing this In a Costa Rican jungle where monkeys, scarlet macaws, and toucans are more plentiful than Internet signals.
This post will be a mix of travel blog and book news. I will tell you about one fabulous anthology that’s coming out and a prize-winning novel as well as a bit about bugs, bats and bromeliads.
I end with some travel tips and the secret to happiness.
Costa Rica is a tropical wet dream. Last night the scarlet macaws were having a party. They flew across the sky in twos, fours, and sixes, (they mate for life and are monogamous) with an occasional lonely five, a tag-along, winging laboriously across the sky. Macaws and Toucans don’t fly for fun They ’re like the weekend pilot who starts flying for an airline. It’s all about the destination.
It’s magic here! Eco Tico tourists play in warm seas, we swim past rivers of mating red dragonflies and giant trees linger in the slow, deadly embrace of strangler figs.
We stayed in Drake’s Bay a fairly remote mangrove and tropical forest edging a blue sea.
We took The Night Tour-, hands down the best tour anywhere. Tracy and her husband, Gian are both extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic biologists. I was amazed by how much personal attention they gave each and every guest, considering they do two tours a night. Whether you are a novice or an expert, I guarantee you will see and learn new things.
Gian showed us a velvet worm, a creature so unique it has its own phylum! I attach a picture of it here, but it’s not very impressive, so I will also include a picture of a cat reading a book.
Velvet worms are kind of like very tiny politicians. They spend most of their time under rocks and use slime as a weapon.
I have decided that I want my own phylum too and plan to start a petition to that effect. #ELIZABETHISHEROWNPHYLUM.
In addition, Tracie and Gian have a lot of cool devices, like a “bat locator,” where you can actually see the echolocation of bats!
It’s an interesting coincidence that I wrote a story about a week before my visit with Tracie and Gian about a machine that creates false echoes, causing bats to hallucinate.
I could claim ESP, but in fact, I had the story in my head for a while and it has less to do with nature and more to do with manipulation.
I’ve been meaning to work on my new book which I’m quite excited about. It’s a tale of possession. A woman who is denied recognition of her scientific work returns from the grave for vengeance but finds love. But short stories keep coming into my brain so I’m writing those instead, and basking in the great tropical wilderness filled with creatures too colorful and loud to exist outside of dreams.
Now- onto my newest anthology and my newest novel. The novel, The Hollywood Portal
is a sequel to Electric Detective.
It’s the bastard love child of Raymond Chandler or and Philip K. Dick. If you enjoy Chandler I really do think you will like it. I hope you read it or at least buy it. I could really use the cash. And if you like it, please write a review.
The Whodunit Award judges a novel on its first three pages. Here is the beginning of The Hollywood Portal :
“LA is a desert in a party dress. Despite miles of green lawn and chlorine oasis, the air is full of sand, grit, and hope so tangible you can feel it in the wind. Perhaps it is our thirst that makes us so isolated. Even the LA River is a highway. A drop of rain falling onto the paved thoroughfare in the San Gabriel Mountains ten thousand feet above the City can reach the sea faster than a speeding car. We are a city of twelve hundred thousand gold diggers prospecting on concrete banks.
It was unusually muggy, the air warm and heavy with moisture, the sky low and white. There was no horizon. In the Midwest, weather like this might mean tornados; in the mountains, a sky so pale signaled snow, but here, the blurring of perspective felt like a premonition.”
It was on The AAE Books, Editors’ 2018 Book Picks For Christmas
“I picked E.E. King’s The Hollywood Portal, this year’s first prize winner in the Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition. That in itself says a lot about this book. You can be sure that the words will pull you into the story like a starship’s tractor beam. A terrific read by a talented voice!
The judges were unanimous in their praise. E.E. King paints a colorful picture of the City of Angeles, peopled with odd denizens and surreal circumstance. Having lost his family, Ed Evers gets drawn into a case being investigated by his old FBI boss – thirty or so A-list people radiated to crispy critters inside an old fallout shelter at the former home of a Grade-B movie star. Can Eddy solve the crime? After all, he has an extraordinary vision, the result of a lightning strike that turned him into ‘a human voltmeter.’ You can’t put the book down as you go on an electric kaleidoscopic sci-fi journey in the guise of a nail-biting murder mystery.” – Shirrel Rhoades, Publisher
I am also in this amazing new anthology, Cosy Crime Short Stories, published by Flametree. Not only do they produce incredibly beautiful books, they also do something exciting and unique. They mix new works with classics. Thus, I got to be in a collection with Arthur Conan Doyle, and G.K. Chesterton! Their books are lavishly illustrated, truly books for bibliophiles to cherish!
“Following the great success of the Gothic Fantasy deluxe edition short story compilations, this latest is packed with armchair detectives, murders in the vicarage, family secrets unraveling in gossipy ears, and the ingredients of a genteel bloodbath in an otherwise delightful village. Contains a fabulous mix of classic and brand-new writing, with contemporary authors from the US, Canada, and the UK.
Contributions by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Joshua Boyce, Sarah Holly Bryant, Jeffrey B. Burton, C.B. Channell, Gregory Von Dare, Amanda C. Davis, Michael Martin Garrett, Philip Brian Hall, Tom Mead, Trixie Nisbet, Annette Siketa, B. David Spicer, Nancy Sweetland, Louise Taylor, Elise Warner and ME – E.E. King.
And now… the moment you’ve been waiting for
If you are in Costa Rica near Uvita or Ojochal, go to The Bamboo Room for some amazingly great music! Eat at Citrus for a world-class dinner. And if you’re in Drake’s Bay sure to take The Night Tour – it just might just change your life! It will open your eyes to new ways of seeing and make you consider all the wonders and tiny secret lives we usually ignore.
I’m leaving today and heading toward Montverde Cloud Forest where new adventures and stories await. I leave you with more cat pictures and wish you all a good beginning to what I hope will be a wonderful year.
I also leave you with these secrets for happiness:
Be kind whenever possible.
Remember to look at all the beauty around.
Don’t read the news.
Stay away from social media and most importantly
to quote writer Gini Koch, “The meds aren’t free, ya know!”