Archive for September, 2013

What Didn’t Kill Her

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

A friend of mine sent me this link today:

What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

I’m not sure if this is inspirational or cool or just plain creepy! Whatever the case, I’m glad that she and her loved ones are all right. Losing everything you own in an instant is terrible enough.

I’m going to pick out a few comments from the post, but you can see the rest by clicking on the title link above.

The friend shares her experience (and an incredible, positive attitude):
What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

A firefighter explains to jaded Internet skeptics how and why a Kindle could be recovered from a fire:
What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

A fellow Kindle owner takes precautions:
What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

A few posters accused this of being a fake story as part of some viral advertising campaign. But one redditor thinks something even darker is afoot:
What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

And, since this is reddit after all, here’s the top-rated joke:
What Doesn't Kill Her from Reddit

Back From Bouchercon

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Before I get into a report on Bouchercon, I want to let everybody know that WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER has been doing very well – got as high as #90 in Kindle bestsellers and #1 in mysteries – with some really nice reviews (I’ll share some below). My thanks to those of you who requested advance copies who have helped earn the book a four-star average at Amazon and an impressive (to date) 27 reviews.

The advance copies I sent out here on EARLY CRIMES has earned us a five-star rating at Amazon and 12 reviews.

Keep those reviews coming. I encourage you to not only review my stuff at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads, but to do the same for any author, any book, you like. They really matter.

Bouchercon was the usual delight where people are concerned. I did four signings and had long lines for the first two and steady flow for the others. The multiple signings had to do with Barb and me each doing two panels, and signings are always scheduled right after…plus I had an Amazon signing, as well, at Mystery Mike’s booth, the minute I got there. Some fans came with boxes of M.A.C. books, often including editions I had never seen before.

The panels were excellent. Barb and I were on one that had to do with collaborations, and that went very well, although it got a little bogged down when we got into ghost-writing and novelizations as different branches of collaboration. This led to talk of contracts and other “inside baseball” topics that I’m afraid may have bored some audience members. I responded by making stupid jokes – are you surprised? Still, a strong panel, featuring Barbara Peters (moderator), Barb and me, Wendy Corsi-Staub, Jonathan Greene, and Paul Kemprecos.

Barb was the moderator on a panel about amateur sleuths and the mix of writers was broad, which – in addition to Barb’s sharp questions – made for a great session. One thing Barb did that was really smart was prepare individual questions for each author. So often on a panel given a shared questions, by the time it gets to you, the topic has been wrung dry. A fine job by my lovely wife. Panelists were Barb (moderator), Joel Gomez-Dossi, Tom MacDonald, Cate Price, Rebecca Tope, Tina Whittle.

I was pleased to be on a panel in the biggest of the rooms, with huge attendance. I shared the stage with Anne Perry, Reed Coleman, Laurie King and Oline Cogdill (moderator). The topic was ending a series. I immediately said, “How do you end a series? Your agent calls and says the publisher doesn’t want any more.” This and many other jokes I used to disrupt a very good panel, where I wasn’t the only funny one, and sure as hell not the only smart one. Anne Perry got on my case a little about writing about true crime and imagining the motivations of the people involved…think about it…but she generally seemed to like what I had to say. Most of us on the panel had done historical crime fiction and that became a sub-topic. Really a fun, lively affair.

Meetings with our agent Dominick Abel and editors from Kensington, Thomas & Mercer and Tor/Forge were a lot of fun, with business getting covered but also a really nice chance to socialize and get to know better the people you work for/with. Of course, Michaela Hamilton of Kensington has been pleasantly in our lives for some time – she bought CARNAL HOURS at Dutton, back in the day, and later at Kensington requested that we do a cozy series for her, resulting in the ANTIQUES novels. She also published two thrillers by Matt Clemens and me.

Matt was there, making friends everywhere he went and doing a panel himself (before we got there).

There were dinners every evening where we got to socialize with all sorts of mystery writers and publishing folk – a wonderful Amazon evening, the PWA awards dinner (unofficial this year, since I wasn’t nominated), and our agent’s annual feed-the-clients affair. All fun. All wonderful.

Our only complaint was the venue. Downtown Albany was not user-friendly, to say the least. We were at an institutional facility, not the usual hotel – at a hotel, there is a lobby, a bar, a restaurant or two. In Albany, no restaurants near the convention center. Hotels were spread out, requiring shuttles or long walks or cars (taxi or rental). When you were away from the con you were really, really away from the con.

Nonetheless, the people are the thing, and that helped make up for the shortcomings of the ungainly venue. I am sure future Bouchercons will learn from what went right and what didn’t at this one.

No Bouchercon pictures yet, but in later weeks we’ll post some.

* * *

We had a flat-out rave for WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER at Bookgasm. Does that feel good!

Another great one for WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER at Crimespree. (Saw Jon and Ruth Jordan at the con – with the most quality time being at the airport heading home.)

And finally, yet another at the Beachcomber (under the Jack Reacher review).


New Books and Bouchercon

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
What Doesn't Kill Her
Lady, Go Die! Paperback

My Thomas & Mercer thriller, WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, written with the assistance of longtime collaborator Matthew Clemens, goes on sale today. That means those of you who asked for review copies will now be available to post your reviews at Amazon.

The Top Suspense Group, of which I am a part, has an excellent WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER write-up courtesy of that excellent writer Libby Hellmann on the TSG blog today. Read it right here.

Barb and I are listening to Dan John Miller’s audio of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, and he really brings the book to life. Dan is heading into the studio to read ASK NOT this week – I am thrilled that the definitive audio voice of Nate Heller is back for this one.

Also available, for those you who have been waiting for a mass market paperback, is Titan’s new edition of LADY, GO DIE! This establishes a pattern for Titan reprints to come, utilizing images culled from old paperback covers (as opposed to the Hard Case approach of doing new retro covers). What do you think?

Speaking of Mike Hammer, here is a nifty review from Sons of Spade of COMPLEX 90.

Well, Barb and I did not win the Nero for ANTIQUES DISPOSAL, but we remain very pleased that we were noticed. That’s a very tough place to get nominated. Read about who won and who else was nominated at the Rap Sheet.

My thanks to readers who requested review copies of EARLY CRIMES. Some of those reviews are up at Amazon now.

* * *

For those of you going to Bouchercon in Albany next weekend, here are the event times for Barb and me:

Friday, Sept. 20:

9:45 am signing – not sure where this will be held; probably the book room. It’s a Thomas & Mercer signing.

1:50-2:45 pm Barb/MAC panel, “I Don’t Want to Be Alone” RM 1

2:45-3:15 pm signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAX), book room

Saturday, Sept. 21:

10:20-11:15 am Barb panel, “Money or Love” RM 3

11:15-11:45 am signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAC), book room

12:30-1:25 pm MAC panel, “Famous Last Words” RM 6

1:25-1:45 pm signing, MAC, book room

Movie Immortality And More

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

What have I been up to? Besides the occasional band job and one trip after another, you mean? Well, I spent most of last month writing a spec TV pilot – I can’t say more than that, but I can say I am pleased with how it came out. I then dug into the political thriller SUPREME JUSTICE, Matt Clemens having delivered most of his story treatment (he’s still working on the third act, after some brainstorming with me when he dropped off the first two-thirds of the treatment).

Barb and I are also preparing for Bouchercon in Albany – we each are on two panels, details of which (including times) will be posted next week. (Matt’s on a panel, too.) I have a busy schedule at the con, in part because WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER debuts there. Official pub date is September 17, which means a week from when this is posted, those of you who requested review copies can finally post at Amazon.

Some nice EARLY CRIMES reviews have appeared at Amazon, some of which flow from the review copies I sent out to nine readers (yes, one copy remains to be claimed). I have had to turn down several foreign requests because of prohibitive postage.

Saw two movies this weekend and liked them both – WE’RE THE MILLERS was a very funny crime comedy (I was surprised by how much I liked it – I basically only went, by myself, because Barb kicked me out of the house while she watched tennis). Both of us loved the over-the-top and very clever RIDDICK – writers will be keenly interested in the film’s audacious structure, which shifts the point of view from anti-hero Riddick to his adversaries for the entire second act. I think Vin Diesel would make a good Hammer (he even does noir-ish voiceovers in RIDDICK).

Barb and I also watched the Criterion Blu-ray of Lubitsch’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE as well as the new Blu-ray of SHANE. I had forgotten how great both of those were. It struck me that one-time household words like Jack Benny (star of the former) and Alan Ladd (star of the latter) now each have their immortality tied up in a single film. But immortal they are.

Arguably the same can be said for Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON, and possibly Cary Grant in NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Kim Novak, recently interviewed fascinatingly on TCM by Robert Osborne, is strictly VERTIGO now, but that’s plenty. Jimmy Stewart, on the other hand, is a star who has many classic films on his list – VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, HARVEY, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, ANATOMY OF A MURDER – and that puts him in a rarefied class. I would argue the same for John Wayne – STAGECOACH, THE QUIET MAN, THE SEARCHERS, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (Stewart again!), RED RIVER, RIO BRAVO. There’s a pretty good list for Bogart, too, though oddly Marilyn Monroe, the movie star of stars, has arguably only one great film on her credit list (SOME LIKE IT HOT), though cases can be made for several others.

These are the kinds of thoughts that keeps an aging Baby Boomer up at night.

* * *

Nothing feels better to a writer than having a writer you admire give you a good review. Here Ed Gorman weighs in on WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER.

And here’s another very strong WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER review.

Speaking of writers I admire, here is Bill Crider with the first review of ASK NOT.

ASK NOT gets a nice mention by Jeff Pierce in his Kirkus blog.

And Brian Drake compares me favorably to Mickey Spillane in (of all things) a discussion of John Buchan’s 39 STEPS. Be sure to scroll down for my comment.

Finally, here is ROAD TO PERDITION getting classified yet again as one of the great comics-to-movies films. It does not mention Richard Piers Rayner, however, and that’s shameful.