First Place Front Page Fatality!

Have you bought your copy, yet?  Because it looks like everyone else has!

LynDee Walker's first novel is #1 on the Amazon  Hot New Releases chart.  I'm betting it's the first First of many to come.
LynDee Walker’s first novel is #1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases chart. I’m betting it’s the first First of many to come.


Get yours here:

Signed copies available from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond:


Amazon kindle:


Amazon paperback:


Barnes and Noble (nook book and paperback):


Kobo ebook:


And if you have an apple device, you can find it in the iBookstore.


You can find LynDee online at (sign up for the quarterly newsletter in the right margin to stay up-to-date on news about her and Nichelle).

LynDee Walker

LynDee Walker

She also hangs out a lot on Facebook ( and twitter (@LynDeeWalker).




A Review: Pink Prose, by Alison Hay–Truly Rose Colored

I’ve always loved a good person story. Since grade school, I have gravitated toward a variety of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, and I read somewhere around 20 every year. I have favorites, of course. Those favorites have these things in common: a strong, vivid voice, well-put ideas, wit, and a healthy vocabulary.

Up on my list in the past couple of years are Your Voice in my Head, by Emma Forrest, Love in a Headscarf, by Shelina Janmohamed, and Girls Like Us, by Sheila Weller. After having finished Pink Prose, by Alison Hay, I’m adding her to the list.

I love when I am reading along in a book and find myself wanting a highlighter, or a notepad so I can jot down what the author has said and all the ideas the passage has fired up in me. This happened several times as I read Hay’s book. Her thoughts on objectification were my first happy jolt, then her frank dealings with the trappings of superstardom from the sidelines (especially her anecdote about a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz) and managing to be a person and a personality, and again when she talked about sales, customer service, and negotiation. I finally quit using the highlight feature in my Kindle because I was just marking up too much. I’ll read the whole thing again later and think some more about all the ideas I liked.

Hay’s format flips back and forth between solid, this-is-what-happened stories from her life, and impressionistic interludes of this-is-what-it-felt-like moments in time. The latter require more attention paid, and more emotion invested from the reader–there is a sense of the Seventh Veil in each of those chapters (and if you haven’t read Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, you must–then you will understand what I mean when I am talking about Seventh Veil reveals.) I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between water color words and solid, pop-art realism. It’s pretty rare to read a book that feels like you’re getting to move between gauzey Monet and bold Lichtenstein every few pages. Pink Prose is an art gallery of a book.

Maybe what I liked best is the way Hay uses the English language. Her tone is conversational and conspiratorial, but she speaks to you expecting your intelligence, your sense of humor, and your ability to keep up with her vocabulary and wit. Is it sad that I got so excited over her vocabulary? I couldn’t help comparing her easy command of language with the more pedestrian memoirs I’ve read from her contemporaries. She made me feel smarter for reading stories about Boy George, which is pretty hard to pull off.

I liked the book well enough that I have subscribed to her blog, and am hoping she’ll publish again soon. This is a memoir I can recommend without reservation, whether you are a fan of Culture Club or the 80s at all–oh, did I forget to mention that Alison Hay was married to Roy Hay of Culture Club, and that a lot of the book deals with life as part of a musical sensation? Yeah. I picked up the book because of that, but I couldn’t put it down because of everything else.

4.5 out of 5 stars–go read it!

Front Page Fatality–an Interview with the Author, LynDee Walker

You may remember my Cousin-in-Law, LynDee Walker, from such hits as Women Worth Knowing: Meet LynDee, or What is Sexy: Part Two, or her parenting articles for The Examiner, but pretty soon she is going to stand out in your mind as one of Henery Press‘ premier authors.  Nothing could make me happier than to introduce you to LynDee as the author of the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series.

Isn't that the cutest book cover ever?!
Isn’t that the cutest book cover ever?!

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

The first book of the series, Front Page Fatality, will be available to the public on January 29, 2013, but since I know the author *hair fluff* I got an advance copy to enjoy.  Now, I love spoilers, but I know most people don’t, so I won’t tell you ANYTHING about the story (because if I try, I’ll spill), but I will tell you this:  Front Page Fatality is a tightly written, interesting mystery that is fun to read because of how vibrantly and realistically Nichelle Clarke is written.  From the top of her head, to the soles of her Louboutin shod feet, Nichelle is personable, relatable, and exactly the kind of person you’d like to take out for Happy Hour.

Since I can’t do any real talking, I asked LynDee if she would.  I’m excited to bring you The Outside Lane’s first official interview with soon-to-be-best-selling author, LynDee Walker.

LynDee Walker
LynDee Walker


TOL: Welcome to The Outside Lane, LynDee!

LW:  Thanks for having me! I love your reviews, commentaries, and general attitude, and am very glad to be here!


TOL:  Get us started!  Tell us the story of how Front Page Fatality came out of your brain.

LW:  The first draft came out insanely fast. It took five weeks to finish. And it was super long and very messy. It all started with a scene that’s in the middle of the book and is a spoiler for the story, so I don’t want to say which one, but it pestered me for a few days and I thought putting it in the computer would make it go away. Instead, I got bitten by the fiction bug.


I think it was borne of a desperation to get back to some sort of writing, because after almost five years away from journalism–as a stay-at-home mom–I didn’t realize how much I missed just the act of putting down words until I started writing that scene. I also missed the newsroom. Ergo, a reporter heroine that gives me the ability to play in that world without the long hours away from my babies.


I went back to what I thought then was the beginning of the story and wrote through to that original scene, then wrote from there to the end. I pantsed it the whole way: the best description I have for you is that it was like watching a movie in my head and transcribing what was happening. I had no idea what was coming next, and wrote so manically because I wasn’t sure when or if it would stop.


As I wrote, I took chapters to my mom and my best girlfriend and they kept asking to see more, so I kept writing. But then there were literally years of revising and revamping the story to get it to what you see today. I think there are maybe five or six sentences in the entire book that have survived since the rough draft.


TOL:  That’s a lot of work.  What was the most difficult part of getting the story from your thoughts to the page?

LW:  Initially, it was finding time to do it fast enough with two small children and a part-time job. I knew nothing about writing fiction when I started, except that I got to use descriptive words and let people have opinions, so I just wrote.


When I began learning about good fiction writing and started revising, the most difficult parts were learning how to reveal a character in layers, and making sure the words conveyed the scene I had in my head to the reader (which is one of many reasons I adore my beta readers).


TOL:  The audience is always right!  But you’re used to an audience.  You are an award winning journalist, and journalists are required to get straight to the facts and tell a story in short order. How did that affect your novel writing style?

LW:  Adversely, at first, actually. I had so much fun getting to use all the flowery words I’d always been told were off-limits that the rough draft was way too long. But during revisions, I think my training came in handy by helping me pare out unnecessary words without affecting the story.  And my fantastic editor and I tightened the book even through the last round of copy edits. I think in the end, my journalism background made for a fast pace and a tight story.


TOL:  And your journalism background taught you how to write a tease, too.  What comes next for Nichelle?

LW: She’s getting herself into more trouble digging around in another murky story, and her relationship with Joey is heating up. And of course, she’s shoe shopping.


TOL:  I can’t wait!  But we’ve got another month before everyone else can read Nichelle’s adventures, and I’m going to have to wait a lot longer!  In the meantime, where else can we find your work?

LW:  I do local freelance articles in Richmond, and I also write a parenting column for (


TOL:  Thank you so much, LynDee!  I’ll be sure to keep The Outside Lane readers updated on how to get Front Page Fatality.

For more information about LynDee or the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series, check out these links:

FRONT PAGE FATALITY: A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery (Henery Press, January 29, 2013)
Twitter: @LynDeeWalker
Facebook: LynDee Walker
Goodreads: LynDee Walker
Amazon author page: LynDee Walker
Pre Order from B&N here
Pre Order from Amazaon here

Book Review: Reading John and Feeling Groovy

Groovy and quite pleasurable.

I really didn’t expect much from John Taylor’s memoir.  Maybe it was because Andy Taylor had already dished all the dirt in his tell-all, a couple of years ago.  Maybe it was because having been a long time, fairly well plugged-in stan, I didn’t think there was much John could tell me that I hadn’t already heard.  Maybe it was because I’m still mad at him for not coming to sign me out of 9th grade Algebra, saving me from the fate of Mrs. Potts and all that x+y=wtf tosh she was trying to stuff into my head. 


I can tell you exactly what I expected from In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran.  I expected to read about John’s childhood, with some minor foreshadowing of what would turn him to drug use, then abuse.  I expected him to talk about the fun of the band (Duran Duran, in case you were born post-1990), the excesses of the band, and how much for granted he took their success.  I expected him to talk about hitting rock bottom, finding The Process, trusting it, and then getting a second chance at the brass ring.  I expected him to talk about deferred gratitude and his current, happy life.  


I was exactly right.  He covered all that, and no more.  But, I had expected it to be only moderately readable, full of navel gazing and platitudes. I was exactly wrong there.  It was an easy, enjoyable read and turned out to be introspective, and interesting. I did not expect the book to be so thoughtful, sweet, and kind. 


Where Andy’s book was lighting people on fire and daring them to stop, drop, and roll, John’s book was gentle with the lives that touched his.  Where Andy’s book was about how awesome he was, John’s book was about how hard he worked, and how fortunate he was to connect with wonderful, like-minded workers.  Where Andy’s book blamed the world, John’s book accepted responsibility for his own behavior. 


I told a friend, after reading the first few chapters, that it was “a lovely book.”  It really is.  It is a book that his daughter should be proud to read, that his various exes can read without worry, that his current wife can read with delight, that his coworkers and friends can read and smile, and that a longtime fan can read and enjoy as though they were finally getting that sit-down with the Bass God that they’d always wanted. 


What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in lyrical quality.  It isn’t about facts and figures, so much as it is about overall impressions.  John gives you a feeling for the times, writes you into the atmosphere of the clubs, the craziness, and the driving work.  When he has to talk about people, he finds their best. 


Like I said, it is a kind work. My favorite things about the book are the way he gives insight into the mind of a success.  No room for failure, only plans to succeed.  I enjoyed reading about how he approached relationships (if you’d like a peek into the mind of how men look at romance…) and I loved how respectfully he treated his daughter’s mother. 


I would liked to have read more about the lean years between Medazzaland and Astronaut.  I’d like to have read about his foray into film and television.  I’d like to have read more about his time as a solo artist, the process that went into writing his solo albums and how that changed him as a group-based artist. 


As a memoir for Duran Duran fans, it is a great, nostalgic read.  I couldn’t help thinking, “Oh, that was the year Jamie and I were junior counselors.”  “Hey, Karen bought me that for Christmas one year!”  “I still remember the first time I heard that on the radio.” 


As a memoir for John Taylor fans, I feel like it could have been twice as long.  I’d like to have read more about the sober artist, feeling his way around himself and the world, finding ways to create and contribute, and be relevant as an adult, than the Tiger Beat, Brummie born boy with burgundy bangs.  I am especially interested in that now, having read how sweetly he wrote this book. 


If Andy’s book was a Screamo song, shouted at the Duranies, John’s is a lullabye sung to us. 


4 out of 5 stars if you’re a Duranie


3 out of 5 if you’re not

Hair and Happy Book Endings

I have two plans for today:

  1. Wear the stretch back into these jeans I accidentally put in the dryer on high.
  2. Put the highlights back into my hair.

If you hadn’t noticed, I like to change colors frequently.  I’ve been coloring my hair since I was fifteen, using temporary color, and since my twenties, using permanent color and bleach.  In my years of experimentation, I’ve become expert in what does and does not work with my hair.  Miss Clairol does not.  L’Oreal does.  Natural Instincts (by Clairol) does.  Garnier Nutrisse does not.  Feria, by L’Oreal, works the best (though it is also the brand most likely to bring out the red in my hair, and is also the brand least likely to end up as the color advertised.  I always use Champagne Cocktail) when I want to be blonder.  L’Oreal Couleur Experte Express Two-in-One Multi Tonal Permanent Hair Color System (whew!) in Vanilla Icing is what I use when I want a base color that is closer to my natural, dark ash blonde, with highlights.

Generally, I do the base color one day, then do the highlights the next.  This is a) to let my hair rest, and b) because I am lazy.  Last night I did the base color, so tonight I will do the highlights.

Coloring my hair is therapeutic for me.  Some people drink to relieve stress.  Some people work out.  I color my hair.  I find the smell of the chemicals to be relaxing.  Yes, I just wrote that.  Yes, I am not quite right.

Meanwhile, I finished the book I had started.  The one I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy because it read to much like LANE.  I am so glad I kept going!  Ten Girls to Watch, by Charity Shumway is now part of the permanent collection of my favorite books.  I was literally dog-earing pages so I could go back and reread bits.  I’ll give you a full review later, but for now, go get this book!  It is Chick Lit, but it is intelligent, introspective, and never takes the expected, rote route.  Neither the women, nor the men were caricatures, and the relationships looked like ones I have, or would like to have.  Big, big, big 5 out of 5 stars from me.