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January 27, 2016



Land of Shadows is one of the best debuts I have read in years. It, and Rachel, deserve much more attention than they are getting, so I am so happy to see her here again on Jungle Red Writers.

Lou is a character I hope to follow for years to come. There is much discussion of the lack of diversity in crime fiction - in all entertainment really - and while I do agree that we still have huge strides to make, there is quality work out there by and about all types of people if readers are willing to give it a chance.

And look at those covers! They just keep getting better.


Losing my mind here. We are on Femmes Fatales, not Jungle Red. ;) Two of my favorite blogs to check each morning, but clearly I still need my coffee.

Dru Ann

Hi Rachel and thanks Elaine for giving Rachel a chance to shine. I love her books and her characters. Lou is an awesome character and having binged read her series, I can't wait to read the next one.

Love the idea of taking stock on what's happening around you to incorporate into stories.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Kristopher, thank you so much! You've always been a tremendous advocate for my work - and my status as an author! So glad you enjoy Lou -- and the cover for Trails is just INCREDIBLE, right?

Rachel Howzell Hall

Hi, Dru Ann! Thanks for stopping by -- and reading each Lou Norton mystery! And thanks for everything you do for authors and readers.


Thanks Rachel, this is what I needed this morning! I'm also an author with a day job at a nonprofit, struggling to meet competing deadlines. I plan to keep this line from your post by my computer as inspiration: "Embrace your day job, whatever it is! It may slow your writing pace, make your brain a little… blech but since you gotta work, make it work."
I hadn't discovered you yet as an author, so just ordered Land of Shadows, looking forward to meeting Lou Norton. Thanks again! Kris

Sally Schmidt

Thanks for the introduction to a new series that sounds like a must read. You are so right - I've been retired a couple of years so kind of forgot what a cast of characters are in the workplace. And how sometimes someone's backstory was a little more than we wanted to know and seemed like something that could only happen in fiction. I laughed at no fish in the microwave - yes! And we added no KFC boxes in your garbage overnight unless you wanted the wastebasket to be covered in ants in the morning.

Charlaine Harris

I enjoyed this so much. Everything you say is true, Rachel. I worked an 8-to-5 for years, and I used almost everyone later in my fiction. I confess, I had a moment of amazement when my mind popped in "Coben" for "Ellison" and I had dizzying vision of Harlan Coben as a short order cook and a truck driver. I look forward to reading your books.


Another fan here! Hi, Rachel. Just stopping by on my way to add "oyster pirate" to my Twitter bio.

Shannon Baker

Loved Land of Shadows and passed it along to someone who loved it so much she mentioned you in her well-read blog. I need to catch up in the series!

Susan Neace

One of the amazing things at my job as a legal aid attorney is how every year or so someone steals all the toilet paper in the bathroom. We used to keep baby wipes on the diaper change table but now we just have a sign that says we have it available.
I try to keep it in perspective. They must reall need it worse than we do

MaryAnn Forbes

Great post; who knew there was such great fodder for authors at their day jobs? I'm retired now but come to think of it I certainly did work with a group of characters in my career. Great giveaway; thanks for the opportunity to win.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Kris - Hey! Nonprofits, holla! Hope you enjoy LOS and Lou. Had a blast writing her before work, during lunch, at soccer practice, prior to doctor's appointments and on the 405 during rush hour.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Sally: no KFC? I'm stealing that SO HARD. My co-worker just stopped by to tell me that there's a guy in one of our 'We Spaces' angsting over the placement of pillows on the couches. Like, seriously, 'What feeling do we want to convey to whoever sits here?' Yeah... Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel Howzell Hall

Charlaine: Thanks so much for reading! People just present themselves to you at your dayjob. Like rams in a thicket and pennies in a parking lot. BTW, I'm a fan!

Rachel Howzell Hall

Cat: Hey! 'Oyster pirate'? Was there a guy from HR who told you that you weren't shucking as efficiently as you could, that you weren't 'thinking outside the box' and helping to 'change the paradigm' of your oyster 'enterprise' and that you must 'lean in' more to succeed? Yeah?

Rachel Howzell Hall

Shannon - so glad you loved LOS and passed it along. Yes, please catch up! Lou (and I) need you!

Mark Stevens

Very cool stuff. I'm proud to serve on the national MWA board with writers like Rachel (and had a great time chatting with her a couple weeks ago). Must check out her books.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Susan - the strange things that happen in an office. During the holidays, vendors send cookies, nuts, all that stuff, right? Well, someone stole from our area two jugs of mixed nuts/dried cherries -- and one had already been opened. Who DOES that??

Rachel Howzell Hall

Mark - It was great meeting you. Seems so long ago, our time in New York! Thanks for reading.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

LOVE you--and your books--as you well know!

Yes, that day job.

MARY the producer: Someone took my brush. I hate people.
Hank: Where'd you leave it?
M:In the bathroom.
H: Oh, you forgot it.
M: No, I left it there so I could use it later.
H: But hundreds of people go in there every day!
M: Yeah, well, they still shouldn't have taken it. I hate people.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

And someone has posted on a carton in the office fridge: SPECIAL MILK FOR HYPOGLYCEMIA.

Kay Kendall

Hi, Rachel. I enjoyed LAND OF SHADOWS very much and now look forward to reading its sequel and your next book, due out soon. LOS was very assured for a debut novel, congratulations!
It was a pleasure meeting you (and Elaine Viets too!) at the recent MWA board meeting. We were so lucky the blizzard waited for the following weekend...major understatement!

Laura L. Cooper

Whatever you are using to inspire your characters is working. Love Lou and the gang. Besides, writing can be good therapy for dealing with the stress of real people.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Hank - you've always been so supportive of me. Thanks so much for being my cheerleader. And I've never heard of special milk for that... but I'll one-up you. Someone stole a mother's breast milk out of the special little fridge for mothers who breastfeed. In that case, I'd rather for that person to just go ahead and steal my Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Kay, it was great meeting you in New York! I lamented missing the snow by two hours that weekend. Not so much now. Thanks for reading LOS!

Rachel Howzell Hall

Laura, thanks so much. I try hard to find inspiration everywhere I can!

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