Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blessed Are The Dead

New Suspense Thriller by Kristi Belcamino

Check out Belcamino's Bay Area suspense thriller. 

You will not be able to put it down.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Minnesota Author 

Shines in Libary Journal Review

Library Journal review praised THE LIFE WE BURY as being a "well-crafted debut novel...with layers of suppressed memories and emotions." "Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author."
Photo: Library Journal review praised THE LIFE WE BURY as being a "well-crafted debut novel...with layers of suppressed memories and emotions." "Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author."

Friday, September 5, 2014


I'm SO excited to announce that “Festival of Crime” will be launched on Sept. 11 at Once Upon A Crime bookstore in Mpls. at 7:00. It’s the first anthology from Twin Cities Sisters in Crime. My story “Best of the Fest" was mentioned by Publishers Weekly. I was also one of the editors on this project. Most of the authors will be present to do signings. I would love to see my friends and family at this event!!

“…Most of the tales in this surprisingly diverse collection are about bad girls—cool, cunning, courageous, caring, sentimental, sly, sexy, wicked, and eye-poppingly bad girls. Story after story is a revelation, filled with devious characters, perfect twists, and writing that’s sure to rough you up a little.”
 ---David Housewright, Edgar Award winning author of the Last Kind Word

Sunday, August 10, 2014

“Orange is the New Black” has the best antagonist ever. It’s a woman.

10 August 2014

This is Lorraine Toussaint as Yvonne “Vee” Parker. We might call her a new character inOrange is the New Black‘s second season, but she’s well-known to two of Litchfield’s current inmates… for complicated reasons. She is the best female antagonist I’ve ever seen, and one of the best antagonists ever.
To Taystee (Danielle Williams), Vee is the foster mother who finally gave her a home. Sure, that home was the locus of a powerful drug corporation. But Vee knew how to inspire loyalty and a sense of family — and we can see her use exactly the right strings to pull Taystee back, to transform her into the loyal soldier she used to be before prison.
In flashbacks we learn exactly how Vee has earned such loyalty from Taystee: by providing exactly that feeling of belonging and family — as well as just the right dose of race pride — that her life lacked beforehand. Moreover, Vee is the best possible “mother”: smart, powerful, admirable. The fact that she runs a drug empire is incidental to her maternal effects on the lonely Taystee.
Once Taystee is on board, Vee pursues the loyalty of a small group of other young Black women to build her prison “family” — using a variety of the same techniques carefully calibrated to each woman (maternal gentleness, tough love, gestures to racial unity and vague promises of uplift and power). But not Taystee’s gay best friend Poussey (Samira Wiley, whom the New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum aptly describes as “radiant”). Vee persuades Taystee to join in the exclusion and demonization of Poussey, a mean-girl process so real and devastating that I almost couldn’t watch those scenes.
Red (Kate Mulgrew) also has a history with Vee, but in her case it goes back to earlier prison days as competitors for control of the prison’s black market. Witnessing Red’s anxiety about talking to the leonine Vee for the first time gives us an insight into her character that we hadn’t seen before: for the first time in years, she worries that her aging will lead Vee to sniff out her weakness. In anticipation, she visits Sophia’s salon to amp up her fierceness.
And yet when they meet, they embrace warmly, like old friends.
Indeed, it is Vee’s capacity to convey warmth and insight that makes her so powerful, and so capable of deception. Witness her effect on the perpetual outsider, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” (Uzo Aduba). She insists on calling her Suzanne. With a few correcting glances from Vee, Suzanne stops undermining herself and her mental stability, and speaks with new confidence. Under to heat of that seeming maternal affection and guidance, Suzanne glows like a light bulb and happily serves as Vee’s henchman, the muscles to Vee’s brains.
With everything else going on for me this summer, it took me forever to finish Season 2 — but throughout I marveled at the manipulative twists and maneuvers of Vee, who is the best antagonist I’ve seen in FOREVER. And it’s partly such a great character because she’s a woman who has learned to use people’s assumptions about her to her advantage. Think about it: we love a good bad guy — Alan Rickman in Die Hard, Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Kevin Spacey as the horrifically Bible-obsessed baddie in Se7en — but when was the last time you saw a female antagonist worth remembering, for all the reasons why women learn how to extract power and manipulate others using their femininity?
But don’t get me wrong: this is not just a portrayal of a great female antagonist. This is the best antagonist in years, full stop.
Feast your eyes, friends.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Writing Process ~ Blog Tour

Thank you to Allen Eskens for asking me to be a part of the Writing Process Blog Tour. Allen is a fellow member of Twin Cities Chapter of Sisters in Crime and the author of the upmarket, character driven mystery, The Life We Bury, which will launch on October 14, 2014. You can lean more about Allen and his work on:

What am I working on?

I’m completing the first book in the Clemsczak Cleaners Mystery Series, Cleaning Up The Bodies. After writing stand-alone screenplays and novels for ten years, I decided that giving voice to amateur sleuth detectives who live and love on the margins of society would take more than one pass.


George Klemsczak, a twenty-eight-year-old wanna-be screenwriter discovers that his biggest client, prominent surgeon Dr. Terry Wellington has been linked to a rash of deaths following organ harvesting in Minnesota’s Mexican migrant community. Caught between his loyalty to the Wellingtons and a passionate need to know the truth, George turns to his crew for answers: four undocumented workers, all reputed to be the best housecleaners in the Twin Cities.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

In the cleaning series, I draw upon characters and experiences from my own life, which have shown me that the most interesting stories lie in the margins. Those spaces that border accepted societal standards and the cliffs of no return. I’ve owned and operated a cleaning business for twenty years that helped subsidize my interests in filmmaking, screenwriting, and novel writing. I also volunteer as a tutor in the immigrant community and am studying to become a Spanish medical interpreter.

Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy delving behind the scenes of law and disorder. For me, every crime presents an opportunity to study the criminal mind and the society in which he or she lives. For many, reality is steeped in layers of motivation and hope. For others, life revolves around a lack of resources and the inability to endure. I don’t really care why people succeed. That’s a story with an ending. I like stories that command ambiguity—the margins—the possibilities.

 How does your writing process work?

Not like before.

For many years I was lucky when, with regular consistency, out of the seemingly great blue beyond, a really great premise attached to a fairly complete plot line appeared on the front steps of my mind. It would grow and distend until I was forced to put it all down in black and white. It still took six months to craft a screenplay and a year for a novel, but the process almost always felt like a  dreamy magical ride. Back then I traveled a lot, putting huge deposits into my imagination bank. I don’t travel much any more and I think that has depleted, but as of yet, not completely bankrupted my imagination account. Still, it’s getting harder.

What always works for my writing process (when I do it) is showing up regularly in front of the computer. To research ideas, locations, materials, laws, etc. Then writing sentence after sentence, erasing sentence after sentence. Rewriting sentence after sentence.

Next to having a juicy story idea swirling endlessly in my head, my greatest joy in the writing process is getting up in the morning to read what I wrote the night before.

Next Monday, June 2, check out more Minnesota crime writers:

Erin Hart
Erin Hart's archaeological crime novels are set in the mysterious boglands of Ireland. Her debut, HAUNTED GROUND (2003), won the Friends of American Writers award and Romantic Times' Best First Mystery, was shortlisted for mystery’s prestigious Anthony and Agatha awards, and translated into eleven foreign languages. LAKE OF SORROWS (2004) was shortlisted for a Minnesota Book Award, and FALSE MERMAID (2010) was named by ALA/Booklist as one of the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2010. Her latest, THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN (2013), was also a Minnesota Book Award finalist. Erin lives in Minnesota with her husband, Irish accordion legend Paddy O’Brien, and travels frequently to Ireland.

Jessie Chandler

Jessie is the award-winning author of the Shay O'Hanlon Caper series. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her partner and two mutts, Fozzy Bear and Ollie. In the fall and winter, Jessie writes her heart out, and spends her summers selling unique, artsy T-shirts and other assorted trinkets to unsuspecting conference and festival goers. 

Barbara Deese
Barbara Deese grew up in a family of voracious readers with eclectic tastes.  She feels most at home with people who love a good story, which explains her love of book clubs.  She is the author of the No Ordinary Women Mysteries featuring a book club full of fun and feisty fifty-year-olds.  Her twisty career path began when she became one of thirty-three female air marshals in the U.S. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and two cats.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Sherlock Masterpiece PBS

Mickie, we've had enough direction
from you for one day.
I love watching Masterpiece Theater Sherlock because for ninety minutes, I can be fearless, invincible, Über sharp and bright, stuffed to the gills with bravado, adventurous, and nearly completely filterless. Living the dream.

The script's shiny style and impeccable layering of scene and character keep you vicariously hydroplaning from beginning to end. It's like understanding that if you can keep up with the plot, nuances et al., you can, for a very short time (long-term ramifications from endorphins exploding in your brain notwithstanding), become as dynamic as Sherlock and have at least as much fun. 

Benedict Cumberbatch is peerlessly arresting as the hat detective, and the supporting cast have become old acquaintances. In my wild imagination I feed them dinner, something I quickly whip up, like my rosemary potato quiche. I don't say a word. I just serve, sit quietly, and listen. Yeah, right.

Final episode of the season on Sunday, February 2--right after Downton Abbey. You can bet it will be unforgettable.

She thinks we're cool.