Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall

Skies of Ash

by Rachel Howzell Hall

Giveaway ends December 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Elements of Mystery Panel at Santa Monica Public Library

Hey! You busy on Saturday afternoon? Wanna come to Santa Monica?

I'll be at Santa Monica Public Library at 2:00, hanging out with Naomi Hirahara, Kim Fay, Samuel Gailey and Don Passman, and we'll be talking about mysteries and how to write 'em.

We'll also sign books and there will be things to nibble. And it's Santa Monica!

From the Bottom to the Top...

I had the wonderful opportunity to write an essay for Zocalo Public Square!

By now, you know where I grew up.

This piece talks more about that and how I wanted up that hill.

Hope you go over and read it and share it with your friends!

Friday, August 1, 2014

File NPR Interview Under 'Dream Come True'

Okay, y'all. You've noticed that blog posts have been slim to none -- closer to none.

Cuz I've been busy. Busy as a bee, as a beaver, as a bee and beaver whooping it up at the Hoover Dam. And I've been so very tired. Like, "dark bags under my eyes" kind of tired. Like, "too tired to play a videogame" kind of tired.

Now, though, I've gotten some energy. Even started playing "Borderlands"! And starting third edits of Lou Norton #3, titled TRAIL OF ECHOES.

This summer, I signed and read and met wonderful readers and writers -- from Book Carnival, Mysterious Galaxy, Eso Won Books, A Great Good Place for Books, The Last Bookstore to the American Library Association's annual conference in Las Vegas! I was honored to post pieces on Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds and Jungle Red Writers blogs.

To top it all off, to just... make me feel like I'm in Oz and Narnia and Heaven, I had the chance to hang out with the so-talented Karen Grigsby Bates. Karen is a novelist -- Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People. She is also a correspondent for NPR. Because God is saying 'Yes!' to me right now, I was recently featured on NPR's "Crime in the City" series. Karen and I spent two afternoons together, talking about LAND OF SHADOWS, Elouise Norton and Los Angeles, yesterday and today.

Rachel Howzell Hall is easing her big, laurel green Mercedes sedan through the streets of Los Angeles. A slim woman with big eyes, Hall says this Benz is her dream car, the thing she'd planned to buy for herself once she'd become a successful writer, probably around age 50.

But something happened to speed up her schedule.

"When I was 33 years old," Hall says, "I was diagnosed with a rare type of breast cancer. And I was pregnant. And it was terrifying."

Please click over and hear the rest!

Listening to it air on Tuesday... no words. Yes, I cried. Yes, I could hardly concentrate on anything else. Yes, I couldn't believe it.

But it happened!

All of it happened!

And thank you all for making my dream come true!

Oh -- and if you belong to a book club, and you're reading LAND OF SHADOWS, I Skype!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm Still Here!


It's been a while but I've been busy!

This weekend, I'll catch you up on all things LAND OF SHADOWS because that's been my June!

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lou and Monique and Good Girls and Bad Boys

I recently wrote a post for popular crime-writing blog Crimetime about Lou Norton -- but also about how the story came to be about Monique Darson:

In Land of Shadows, Detective Elouise 'Lou' Norton needs to figure out who killed Monique Darson, and whether it's the same monster that stole her sister more than twenty years ago... This story started to germinate in my mind soon after the murder of the granddaughter of the then Los Angeles police chief. 

Click over and read the whole piece!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Two hundred and six bones make up the adult human skeleton.

And on a Wednesday night in June, I was perfecting my hammer fist, an efficient strike that could break at least four of those bones.

Fifteen minutes into my Krav Maga class, the bell tower rang—a ring tone chosen for Lieutenant Zak Rodriguez. And even though I was hammer fisting; even though, a yard away, my friend Lena was flirting with Avarim as he taught her how to break from a choke hold; even though I was off duty and needed this workout and was observing the tradition known as “having a personal life”—duty called.

For whom the bell tolled.

Elouise Norton, LAPD Homicide Detective, Southwest Division.

I excused myself from my trainer, Seth, and padded over to the mirrored wall. I scrutinized my abs, a part of my body that rarely saw the sun and was always hidden beneath silk shirts and six pounds of Kevlar. Not to brag, but my belly looked awesome in this light.

I grabbed my iPhone and towel from the floor and glanced at the phone’s picture of a middle-aged Latino with smoke-colored eyes and a Clark Gable mustache.

And the bell tolled again.

I took a deep breath, then said, “Lou here.”

“You’re not answering your radio,” Lieutenant Rodriguez shouted. Sirens blared in the background.

“Because it’s in the car.”

“And why aren’t you in the car?”

“Because I’m on the Westside, getting in some exercise.”

Lena, also getting in some “exercise,” was now sticking her ass into Avarim’s crotch and cooing, “Like this? Like this?” Newly divorced, Lena was tiny and dazzling. More than that, she could filet men like a hungry grizzly could filet salmon.

I swiped the towel across my sweaty forehead. “What’s up, LT?”

“A Jane Doe hanging in a closet.”

Unimpressed, I lifted my left knee to my chest and held it for two seconds. “Oh, yeah?”

In this city, Jane Does were always found hanging around. In closets, off bridges, in shower stalls …

“Yeah. A security guard found her in one of those condos over on Santa Rosalia near the Jungle, the ones still under construction. You know ’em, right?”

I had started to lift my right knee but froze. My grip tightened around the phone because yeah, I knew Santa Rosalia, and yeah, I knew the Jungle. From age three and on to my eighteenth birthday, I had lived in that part of black Los Angeles. Worse, my big sister, Victoria, had been snatched off those streets, never to be seen again. I hated the Jungle, and yet I had never left.

“From what the first officer told me,” Lieutenant Rodriguez was saying, “she’s pretty ripe, more than five hours old, and … Hey, you there?”

I stifled a sigh. “Yep. I’m … good.” But his words must have spooked me—Lena had abandoned sexy Avarim to come stand beside me. Big brown eyes wide with worry, she touched my wrist and whispered, “You okay?”

I nodded, even though, no, I wasn’t okay, not entirely. “I don’t understand,” I said to my boss. “Why am I catching this? Last time I scanned the board, there were blank spaces by Guerrero’s and Dolby’s names.”

“First,” he said, “you know the people in that area better than Guerrero and Dolby, so it won’t take thirty years for you to figure out your ass from your elbow. Second: Guerrero and Dolby are on everybody’s shit list for screwing up that Sizzler robbery, and this Jane Doe in a closet could be something, and I really don’t wanna read in the Times that two Southwest Division dicks forgot to fingerprint the scene. I swear those two are SOS.”

He paused, then added, “I know you have two cases simmering right now, but you know and I know that our clearance rate is shit right now. I need the A-Team on this.”

“One more question,” I said. “May I ask why you’re heading out to a suicide? Not that I don’t enjoy your company.”
“Again: she’s on Napoleon Crase’s property. That worries me.”

Yeah. That worried me, too.

“I just want everything done right,” he said. “I already called Taggert and he’s en route to the scene. He’s an ass, but he’s now your ass, so be nice to him, all right?”

“I’m always nice,” I said with a smirk.

He chuckled. “Oh, yeah. You’re a black Marie Osmond. Meet you over there.”

LAND OF SHADOWS Pre-Order Contest-A-Palooza!

Did you know that LAND OF SHADOWS is available for pre-order RIGHT NOW?


Yes, it is!

Did you know that this new mystery has received great reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and blogs and independent reviewers hither, thither and over there?

Uh huh.

Did you know that I've written other books?

Oh, yes, I have.

A Quiet Storm

The View from Here (digital only)

No One Knows You're Here (digital only)

Check 'em out here.

Do you wanna read them?

Please say yes.

Yes? Okay.

Then, I'll tell you what to do:

Enter the drawing to win the RACHEL HOWZELL LIBRARY OF SUSPENSE!

Three readers will be randomly selected to win a signed copy of A Quiet Storm, The View from Here and No One Knows You're Here!

All's you gotta do is:

1. Pre-order LAND OF SHADOWS from any book vendor (any indie store, Amazon, B&N, etc.)by Monday, June 9, 2014.

2. Send the receipt of your pre-order to, either an email or a photographed picture of the register receipt. Proof, yeah? And in the subject heading of that email with the receipt, write LAND OF SHADOWS GIVEAWAY so that I can filter entries.

3. And yes, e-books count.

4. If you've already pre-ordered LAND OF SHADOWS, bless you and hooray! Just send in your pre-order receipt and you'll be entered into the drawing.

And then?

Then, the winner will be drawn by random number and announced after the contest ends.

Again, the contest starts today and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 9, 2014.

Any questions, just ask in the comment section below.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Minding the Gap...

I'm back from the UK and it was FABULOUS!

I've never been so busy in my life. I don't think I ever walked that much in my life, either.

The people at Titan Books are wonderful, in particular, Ms. Ella Bowman, publicist extraordinaire. She kept me on task, provided great conversation, bottled waters, dirty curry and friendship. I'll be posting pictures from my trip abroad in later posts but wanted to share two very cool British moments of the LAND OF SHADOWS release.

First, The Times UK piece on growing up in America written by Rhys Blakely and shot by Barry J. Holmes. What an honor!

And on May 21, I visited the BBC to talk about LAND OF SHADOWS on BBC Radio Four "Women's Hour.'. My interview with Jenni Murray is somewhere in the middle.

All of this -- flying over, Crimefest, blogs, crime writers, great reviews, the Tube -- it was a dream come true!

Monday, May 5, 2014


So what are you doing in the next two months?

How about hanging out with cool people who love cool books in places where those cool books can be purchased?

Books like, I don't know...


So we're starting to throw dates on the calendar -- I'll be reading and answering questions about LOS and Lou Norton and writing and life and on and on.

Will you join me?


First stop: CRIMEFEST in Bristol, U.K. I'll be talking for 20 or so minutes on Friday afternoon (May 16) around 3:20 on writing the female detective. And on Saturday morning (May 17), I'll be on a panel about why we readers like stories on the Missing.

And then, back to U.S. For specifics, pop over to!

And let me know if you can make any dates -- I'd love to see you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Booklist Hearts LAND OF SHADOWS!

BOOKLIST reviewed LAND OF SHADOWS and had this to say:

Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton knows that the young black woman hanging in the closet of an unfinished Los Angeles condominium complex isn’t a suicide. She also knows that the development belongs to Napoleon Crase, the last person to see her sister alive before she disappeared 30 years ago.

With a wet-behind-the-ears new partner to train and a husband who’s blaming the time difference while away on business for missed phone calls, Lou already has a lot on her plate. But nobody’s going to get between her and this murder. Lou is a good cop and fun to watch—great instincts, a no-nonsense interviewing style, and uncompromising in her efforts to catch the bad guy. She’s a well-rounded character who can keep her sense of humor even when her work hits painfully close to home. As she tells her
partner, “I’m sassy, but not Florence-the-Jeffersons’-maid sassy.”

Hall’s first book, A Quiet Storm (2002), was a domestic drama about a family facing mental illness; here she moves easily into the suspense genre—where hopefully she and Officer Norton will stay for a long time to come.


Thanks for reading BOOKLIST!

They're Alive! Independent Bookstores, I Mean.

I'm a lucky lady. Not only do I get to write -- a dream of mine. And get paid to write -- a dream of mine. But I get to share all that I write with people who love books -- the biggest dream of mine.

Recently, my incredible publisher FORGE arranged for me to have lunch with booksellers in northern and southern California. Over Mediterranean in San Francisco, and then Mexican in Los Angeles, we talked about LAND OF SHADOWS, the writing life, readers and books.


Seated, left to right: Nick Petrulakis (Books Inc. Alameda), Cheryl McKeon (Book Passage Ferry Building), and me (of course).
Standing, left to right: Kevin Peters of Peters Literary Media, Korje Guttormsen (Books Inc. Laurel Village), Ingrid Nystrom (Books Inc. Laurel Village), Paula Foley (Folio Books), Owen Hill (Moe's Books), and Jude Feldman (Borderlands Books).

Here's another SF pic -- and the handsome man to my left is my brother Terry. (Thanks for coming, big brother!)


from left to right, Katie Orphan of The Last Bookstore, LeAnna Herrera of Mysterious Galaxy, me (hi, there), Emilio Flores of Mysterious Galaxy, and James Fugate of Eso Won Books

The independent book store is alive and thriving -- go in and buy some stuff!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

PublishersWeekly 'hearts' Land of Shadows!

Hope you all are having a lovely holiday weekend.

I happened upon this today:

A racially explosive Los Angeles provides the backdrop for this exceptional crime novel from Hall (A Quiet Storm). Elouise “Lou” Norton, an LAPD homicide detective ...

PW called LAND OF SHADOWS 'exceptional'!

And there's a star! A starred review!

O. M. WOW!!!

Click here to read the entire review by PublishersWeekly!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Land of Shadows, UK-style!



The UK edition of Land of Shadows arrived at Titan's front door today! Ready for you to buy on May 23rd!

Happy day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another Goodreads Giveaway!

Wanna read LAND OF SHADOWS before it's published in the U.K. on May 23 and in the U.S. on June 10?


This time, my publisher FORGE, is giving away 10 copies!

Pop on over to Goodreads and enter for your chance to win. Good luck!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Land of Shadows Love

Hey, hey, hey!

Getting closer and closer to the publication of LAND OF SHADOWS!

For those across the pond, it hits bookstores on May 23!

And for us Yanks, June 10!

Are you a reviewer though? A blogger? A lover of mystery? An anxious reader who wants to crack LOS open before the world does?

Forge is offering review copies on Netgalley! Yes, that's right.

It's a good read -- not because I said so, but others are!

Books Monthly in the U.K. says, "It will blow your socks off!"

Cayocosta72 says, “A novel of heart pounding suspense and the best new female detective in fiction today. Absolutely unforgettable”

I'm thrilled!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Some Love from Pornokitsch!

Hey, there!

Good weekend?

Good for me -- spent three days at Left Coast Crime in Monterey, California, surrounded by wonderful mystery writers and readers! Ate a cup of incredible clam chowder at the Wharf, bought a pound of sea salt caramels and stuffed too many (is there really such a thing) of books into my carry-on. Good, good, good!

And I woke up this morning to discover a great book review of LAND OF SHADOWS from U.K. mega-blog Pornokitsch!

...Shadows is best when Norton is doing her police work - Hall has a knack for describing the detail of the procedural day to day, be that the smell of a decomposed corpse (eee) or the breakroom comaraderie.


Wow, I say again!

Go here to read to entire review, and then stay awhile to see what else is poppin'!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Land of Shadows - Now with more shadows!!

The creative minds at Titan Books just keep spinnin' and turnin' and crankin' out cool things.

Like this:

It's my new-new cover art for the UK edition of LAND OF SHADOWS!

I'm so very happy with it.

It reminds me of some of the cover art for mysteries written by my literary heroes!

You like?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reading at 'Lament in the Night'

Do you like books? Do you like books riddled with mystery and crime? Do you like books of mystery set in Los Angeles?

Then, you'll love the Grand Park Downtown Bookfest!! Please join me along with L.A. authors Gary Phillips, Desireee Zamorano, Ruben Rodriguez and Steph Cha at 4:00 on March 29 for 'Lament in the Night.'

I'll be reading from LAND OF SHADOWS for the VERY FIRST TIME!! Hope you'll come on down.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Caption the Crazy Contest

The best caption gets a free copy of No One Knows You're Here or The View from Here...

Ends March 5!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

To Live and (Almost) Die in L.A.

I love my city. And I hate my city. It threatens to kill us with its violence and air and earthquakes. But then it loves us with its weather and great food and diversity and opportunity.

I wrote a blog post about life in Los Angeles - one day in the life of my younger brother Jason. Theakstons Festival (they put on the esteemed Harrogate Crime Festival in the U.K.) posted the piece moments ago.

Jason was only sixteen and all he wanted was a breakfast burrito.

On that fall morning in 1993, he stood with his friend Julian and other kids at a catering truck on Exposition, within the safety corridor of Dorsey High School. They were handsome black boys, probably talking about Snoop Dogg’s debut album or Lennox Lewis knocking out Frank Bruno in seven.

Go over and check out the rest!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cover Art from the UK!

Titan Books' cover art for Land of Shadows!

The red and black! The whorls! The building and highway!

Don't you love it?!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Still life with a crime writer

Yesterday, my daughter went to a birthday party that lasted eight hours. What to do, where to go?

First stop: San Antonio Winery for lunch, a tour and tasting. Got my buzz on, left with two bottles of wine.


As we drove to the 5, passed this:

And I made my husband U-turn and go back. Okay, not 'made' since he's just as game as me sometimes. We parked, got out of the car. A coroner cop(?) saw us and my husband explained me. Ha! The guy smiled (probably thinking nothing since this is LA) and wandered away. 

(Shoulda followed him and used my charms to get an impromptu tour. Dag-nabbit!)

So walked around - so peaceful on a Saturday afternoon. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Wanna Look but I Don't Wanna Look!

So, the wonderful people at Titan Books sent me cover artwork for the U.K. ARC (advanced reading copy) for Land of Shadows and....


I'm flattered. And speechless. And excited. And embarrassed. And... wow! It's been a dream of mine since FOREVER to be a novelist. And now, my FACE is on the cover of my NOVEL. I'm so happy that I've imploded and so I'm numb and can't even FEEL anything, y'know?

So here it is:

What do you think?

Little did I know that this picture (taken by my friend Andre Ellis)would double as cover art.

I like the blue tint, and how the 'A' in 'Hall' jabs into the 'W' of 'Howzell.'

So two great covers from Forge and Titan, and incredible publishing support from both fabulous houses.

I'm truly blessed!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why I Love Second Drafts

My girl is getting her hair did and I'm seated in the waiting room, right near the ladies restroom with its flushing and echoing sounds of... all sorts of things. 

But I'm happy. Know why? Cuz I'm now working the second draft of Number Three of the Elouise Norton series. 

And this is the first page of Chapter 4 which used to be Chapter Three.

That's a wonderful thing about second drafts. That and a few other things:

--using my favorite tools like my Staedtler pencils, stickie notes of every size and color
--writing everywhere on the page
--name changes cuz you now know the people you're writing about
-- research being more direct cuz you know what your story is about
--crossing out and stet-ing and lines
--new titile cuz again you know what your story is about.

There be monsters off in the second draft -- and here is where you slay them and create your own. 

Second drafts? I feel in control. And as a control freak, I can dig it! 

Even as some woman is peeing in a tiny room three feet away from me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

And In New York...

My friends at Forge are busy, busy, busy! Getting it together for the June publication of Land of Shadows! I'm addicted to page 10 of the Forge Spring Summer 2014 catalog. And here it is!

Can you believe THAT?! Cool, right?!

I hope that I'll get to meet you at a 'Select Event'!! Keep checking here and my official website for tour dates - either real world or on the interwebs! I'll be the one running down the hall, whooping and cartwheeling!

Shadows Over There


Did I tell you that the UK rights to Land of Shadows was purchased by Titan Books?


Did I tell you that they are just wonderful and attentive and excited?


Did I tell you that the UK version of Land of Shadows will be May 23rd?

I know I didn't tell you that!

And did I mention that I'm going to the UK to help spread the word about Shadows?

I didn't tell you that until now!

But yes, I will be across the pond in May and I'll be sure to post dates and places in case you want to stop by and say hi. Until then, here's Titan's official press release:

Needless to say that I'm thrilled and... and... I know my 'thing' is words but 'a dream come true' is a total understatement.

So what would you call it?