Welcome to Kings River Life's sister site;
Kings River Lite:

KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
Kings River Lite regularly offers a "bonus" review or article, beyond the full issues that go up weekly over at KingsRiverLife.com.

Be sure to follow the River and enjoy brand new articles throughout the week by following both sites. You can subscribe via the sidebar, like Kings River Life, and/or circle KRL for updates. Don't miss our timely & topical issues every Saturday, and check in here for updates and new articles if KRL Magazine is ever down.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Unsold Television Pilots by Lee Goldberg

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

If you are a TV fanatic like me, you will love Unsold Television Pilots by Lee Goldberg. Ever wonder what shows never made it to the light of day? Well here is your answer to a bunch of them!


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


This is an exhaustively researched book that reveals the details behind thousands of TV series ideas that were developed but rejected by the networks. Lee Goldberg states that he began writing this book when he was nine and by the time he finished he was in his early twenties and one of the entries that he had by then was an unsold pilot of his own, a potential spin-off of Spenser: For Hire.

Originally written and published before you could Google pretty much anything, unsold pilots at that time were a mystery and this was the first resource to them of its kind. To Lee's surprise it became a huge sensation, even turning into two TV specials and being mentioned on The Tonight Show.



Image source: Lee Goldberg

Since that first edition, readers have informed Lee of some mistakes which are corrected in this edition. The book covers unsold pilots from 1955 to 1989.

If you love TV, this book is a must have, filled with hours of fun. Get it and find out all of the TV that you missed because the networks said no. You may be surprised what you find! I know we now have Google, but it's a lot nicer to have all that fun info at your finger tips.

To enter to win a copy of Unsold Pilots, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pilots,” or comment on this article and please include your email address. A winner will be chosen December 2, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.


Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.


Friday, November 27, 2015

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc By Jennifer Kincheloe

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Despite her best efforts, wealthy young Anna Blanc has garnered a tarnished reputation without ever having enjoyed the deserving fun. It’s 1907 and her desperate attempt to elope and escape her father’s gilded cage was interrupted before any ravishing. Instead, Anna only received an even more rigid chaperone monitoring her every movement. As part of the wealthiest families in Los Angeles, Anna knows that everyone seems to have a price, and she is able to buy off her guardian just long enough to pursue her seemingly unachievable goal of becoming a police detective.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Hiding her beloved detective and crime novels behind cutout romance covers, Anna believes that she has the intelligence and skills required in a detective. From a chance encounter, she learns about the available position of a female police matron, and through an assumed identity—and some accidental female wiles—succeeds in becoming the Los Angeles Police Department’s newest matron. What will be more challenging is learning how to balance her new secret with her engagement to handsome Edgar Wright, whose wealth will help save the banking crisis facing her father’s business.

Through a combination of naïveté and deductive intelligence, Anna discovers the serial killing of prostitutes that’s being ignored by the police. Using the implicit payoff of a piano, Anna manages to draw in the aid of Detective Joe Singer, who also happens to be the police chief’s son. If only he weren’t as infuriating as he was attractive…



Image source: 7th Street Books

In this debut novel Kincheloe captivatingly depicts the life of a young debutante struggling to break out of the lifestyle that is as confining as it is advantageous. Anna is at times infuriatingly entitled, charmingly naïve, and deceptively witty. The author’s skill is being able to combine these elements into an entirely believable and likable heroine. She also explore the dichotomy of a society that distains and hides its shadier elements while taking complete advantage of them. This is a compelling and entertaining depiction of a naïve debutante evolving into an engaging if somewhat disillusioned innovative detective.

To enter to win a signed copy of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc
By Jennifer Kincheloe, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “secret,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 5, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.



Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).



Friday, November 20, 2015

The Charlie Chronicles Part 3

by Terrance McArhtur

On With the Show, This Is It!

The play is afoot!

The Music Man opened November 7 at the Selma Arts Center, and I’ll be onstage November 20 and 21, as the town constable on Friday, and as Charlie Cowell, Anvil Salesman, antagonist to the con-artist hero, Harold Hill, on Saturday. In the meantime, I pop in from time to time, helping out and hanging around.

I’ve put make-up on faces, taken tickets, handed out programs, watched parts of the show, and mouthed the lines of the actors playing the parts I’m understudying. I spend some of my time with the cast in the basement of the building, surrounded by old props and costumes. There’s a lot of space, and a lot to see.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Under the Backstage

A large-cast musical comedy usually has a small group of major characters that carry most of the story, and a large group, known as the chorus, who show up when the songwriters have a big song that needs lots of voices, or when a bunch of people are supposed to see something happen. The rest of the time, they hide in some place where they can’t be seen or heard, and where they won’t be in the way. At the SAC, that place is the basement.

Under the stage, there are areas for the costumes (things that people wear on the stage), for putting on make-up (close-up, actors look weird because they put on a lot of stuff on their skin to compensate for the washed-out look their bare faces would have when the bright stage lights shine on them), for curtained-off dressing areas (where the actors can change into those costumes they are supposed to wear), and for props (the things they carry around onstage).

Because I’ll be playing different characters on different nights, I will have to worry about two hats, one police helmet left over from Mary Poppins, legal-looking papers, a suitcase big enough to carry an anvil, a pocket watch, and a pair of handcuffs.
Somewhere around and between the props, costumes, make-up, dressing areas, and a zone where the Queen of Costumes performs magic with pins and sewing machines, the chorus dwells. What do they do in this underground lair? It depends on the person, but a lot of it falls into the categories of Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.



Image source: Terrance McArthur

Food, Glorious Food

I love to eat, and my body shows it. In the theatre basement, I find myself in Munch Heaven. Over here is a cheese/pepperoni/cracker platter. Over there is a container of dried mangos and dried pineapple. On another table is a bin of M&M mix that is mostly raisins and peanuts, because the colorful candies have been eaten. If you hear someone say “Donuts,” get out of the way, because a stampede is about to start, and you don’t want to be crushed and trampled.

Cool, Clear Water

Some of the things you eat while waiting for your cues need to be washed down, but you don’t want to get the costume cola-stained. What do you drink? Water. Of course, some cast members will bring in soft drinks, but they risk the wrath of the Costume Goddess. I don’t think the carbonated rush is worth the possible public shaming.

...And We’ll Have Fun, Fun, Fun

Besides eating and drinking, there has to be some way to while away an actor’s off-time. Some people watch the video feed of the show that’s going on over their heads. Others read books. A cluster of young boys usually indicates a cell phone with a video game, I’ve seen knitting, needlepoint, and crochet, while I sit in a quiet spot and stitch up coiled pine needle baskets.

Now, I don’t know if this is a fad in other areas, but the teens and tweens in the Selma-Kingsburg area are into Kindama (or something close to that spelling). When I was a child and we went to Olvera Street in Los Angeles, I would buy a Mexican toy with a wooden ball with a hole in it, attached by a string to a stick with a handle. I would swing the ball up and try to catch it on the stick, Kindama is like that, but with rounded cups sticking out of the sides. These kids catch the ball on the tip, in the cups, and do tricks I couldn’t do with a Duncan Yo-Yo in my prime (if I ever had a prime).

And Now, The End Is Near


I’ll be onstage, this weekend, to do my parts. I’ll be easy to recognize—the short, bald-headed guy looking slightly puzzled as he tries to remember his lines.

You can check out part 1 and part 2 of the Charlie Chronicles, and a review of The Music Man, over on kingsriverlife.com.


Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public's information needs.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sweetheart Deal: A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery By Linda Joffe Hull

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

It was probably inevitable that after attracting a growing following for her Mrs. Frugalicious blog, being featured on a Black Friday television news special, and then solving a murder or two, Maddie Michaels finds herself starring in her own reality television show. The Family Frugalicious was to be a glimpse into the life of a fiscally responsible family always on the search for the best bargain and value for their dollar.

The problem, though, is that since bankrupting their family through a Ponzi scheme and then betraying their marriage vows, Maddie and her husband Frank are married in name only. So as Maddie’s family vacations in Mexico for their producer’s destination wedding, she will be delivering her greatest acting performance as they all pretend to be a happy Frugalicious Family.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Once they arrive at the Hacienda de la Fortuna, suave Alejandro Espinoza begins to push both romantic attentions and vacation timeshares on Maddie in a definite hard sell. Maddie may be new to reality television, but she certainly isn’t stupid, and she resists what she believes may be a blatant play by the Reality Channel to liven up the show. Her suspicions are fulfilled when Alejandro is found drowned in the hotel pool. Despite the rapid declarations by the police that it was an accidental death, Maddie fears far more. What Maddie is even more suspicious of, though, are the ratings her show would receive if she were involved in yet another murder investigation. Just how far would the Reality Channel go in order to ensure a hit show?



Image source: Midnight Ink

This is an absolutely delightful novel that delves into the unreality of reality television show production, bargain vacations, and destination weddings. Footnoted tips on how to make the most of a budgeted holiday and wedding are as informative as they are entertaining, and the author makes the most of the exotic setting.

Even more riveting are the manipulations and accepted pretenses instrumental in creating a successful reality television show. The Michaels family dynamics have become equally compelling, as Frank has managed to redeem himself, even though Maddie wisely refrains from trusting him completely. Relatable family interactions, exposé of reality television, and truly helpful vacation and wedding information ensure that this is a unique mystery with more than its share of humor, suspense, and emotional drama. I can’t wait for the next in this series, which looks to have Mrs. Frugalicious exploring a world that may be far more perilous than any she has experienced before.

To enter to win a signed copy of Sweetheart Deal, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Sweetheart,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 28, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:



Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).



Friday, November 13, 2015

Smart But Dead by Nancy G. West

by Diana Hockley

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Aggie Mundeen is almost 40 and determined not to grow old. She’s Nancy G. West’s main character, a bright, funny woman whose curiosity knows no bounds. The columnist for Stay Young with Aggie has to remain young herself in order to be taken seriously, so it’s important for her to investigate all avenues for a successful outcome. The Human Genome Project, a fifteen-year study to determine the location and function of every human gene, would appear to have found genetic links to aging. When Dr. Carmody (the professor running the Science of Aging course) drops dead in front of the class, Aggie immediately thinks he has been murdered. In fact, if he hadn’t, she would be extremely disappointed, because Aggie is a sleuth!


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Aggie’s friend Meredith, who is accompanying her on the course, is sceptical; but Aggie plods on, questioning everyone she thinks might have a clue as to who might have murdered Carmody. She’s hit over the head but hides it from Sam (the detective and close friend she wishes might become closer, but from whom she’s hiding a devastating secret), which is par for the course for Our Girl. Asking questions that upset Dr Carmody in the lecture did her no favors, either: after he died, some people blamed Aggie.



Image source: Henery Press

The book hits its stride with Aggie’s investigations. While the scientific information slows the action a little, it’s necessary to the plot, and of course comes to a satisfying conclusion. No, I didn’t pick the murderer, so that made the book all the more enjoyable.

Five stars!

To enter to win a copy of Smart But Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Smart,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 21, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:



Diana Hockley is an Australian mystery author who lives in a southeast Queensland country town. She is the devoted slave of five ratties & usually finds an excuse to mention them in her writing, including her recent novel, The Naked Room. Since retiring from running a traveling mouse circus for 10 years, she is now the mouse judge for the Queensland Rat & Mouse Club shows. To learn more, check out her website.





Friday, November 6, 2015

Greenfellas by Rob Lopresti

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Sal Caetano is a mobster in one of the New Jersey crime families. He’s not just any mobster, but consigliere to Vince Napolito. That puts him in the number three spot, right behind Richie, who anybody can tell you, doesn’t see the big picture.

Sal’s life changes, hard to say for better or worse, when two things happen—his granddaughter, Veronica, is born and he hears dire warnings about global warming on the news. He makes his decision—for the sake of his granddaughter (and other people on the planet), Sal’s going green.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


A green mobster is not a popular mobster, unless he can show ways for the family to make money off the deal, so Sal has to improvise to see how the others feel about his ideas. And who’s in charge of making things right anyway?

Sal’s son-in-law is a smart guy (as opposed to a wise guy) so Sal starts there. He’s introduced to a professor who teaches him (and the reader) about what’s green, where to start to change things and why. One of the things is to go to the legislator in charge of environmental hearings. Well, nobody gets into the hearings without an invitation and they don’t hand those out like candy.

Sal, unlike Richie, has always been about the big picture and planning ahead. He comes up with a way to meet the lawmaker and figures that should fix things. To his surprise, he finds elected officials are as bad, if not worse than, his own people—show me the money.

Of course, there are the nut jobs to consider. Some of them think the only way to change things is to blow up what you have and start fresh. Saving the planet with explosions doesn’t make sense to Sal.



Image source: Oak Tree Press

In the end, it always comes down to this—if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself. Sal’s just the guy to do it.

The story includes much more than just Sal’s journey to greenness of course. Vince, may he rest in peace, dies and there’s a power struggle to see who takes over the family, Richie or Sal. Richie’s a loose cannon, Sal’s been on this save the planet kick, so whatya gonna do? The Jersey police have a mole in the organization, RayRay. He’s the dimmest of the bunch but can follow directions, kind of.

There are a lot of characters to follow since everybody has a second in command, the FBI is there, the cops, the folks supposedly in charge of greening the planet, the nut jobs, the other crime families, the computer geek, assorted girlfriends and family (real family, not crime family) too.

Lopresti provides information about going green and the reader is educated along with Sal. There’s never so much at a time to constitute the dreaded information dump. Sal is a delight as he figures out ways around what most would consider insurmountable objects. The dialogue and action are fast paced. There is bad language—they are mobsters after all—and some killings (well, a few but nothing gruesome).

One person can change the course of the world and in this case, it’s Baby Veronica. I’m just jealous I didn’t think of the idea for this book first—“green” with jealousy.

To enter to win a copy of Greenfellas, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Greenfellas,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 14, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.