Posts Tagged ‘Bouchercon 2013’

Titanic Update

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

This week’s update will largely be devoted to another round of Bouchercon photos (courtesy of our Kensington editor Michaela Hamilton’s friend Eugene George) and some very nice links to reviews and articles.

Cinematic Titanic Farewell Tour

I’ll just briefly say that Barb and I spent a great weekend in St. Louis with Nate and Abby, taking in Cinematic Titanic whose live show was part of its “Bon Voyage” tour. The cast “riffed” a wonderfully terrible ‘70s movie called INVISIBLE STRANGLER in which such pros as Stephanie Powers and Elke Sommer are crushed by terrible direction and miserable dialogue, blissfully unaware of the outlandishly bad special effects with which they would share the screen. We are all huge fans of the two spin-off groups from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (the other being, of course, Riff Trax). Titanic, after half a dozen years, numerous live shows and a dozen DVD releases, is going on “indefinite hiatus.” There was a definite valedictory feel to the evening, with Joel Hodgson sharing a slide show that revealed new information about the influences and beginnings of MST3000 (3000 is not a year, for example, but a model number). We briefly met Joel, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace Beaulieu and Dave “Gruber” Allen, who was filling in for an ailing J. Elvis Weinstein. (Gruber played Counselor Rosso on FREAKS & GEEKS! Trace and Joel appeared on the show, and the absent Weinstein was a writer/producer on that great series.) Like the Riff Trax boys, the Cinematic Titanic cast is gracious, warm and witty when dealing with their many fans.

Bouchercon 2013
Max Allan Collins on panel

Bouchercon 2013
Matthew Clemens and Barbara Collins signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara and Max signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara on panel

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I’m thrilled to share with you this stunning rave review from Bookgasm of ASK NOT.

Here’s an article on crime comics that gives MS. TREE her due.

And this ranking of Tom Hanks’ best six movies includes a familiar title.

Here’s a nice if brief review of the TRUE DETECTIVE audio.

I was gratified by this terrific look at ONE LONELY NIGHT from a reviewer who initially disliked Spillane and Mike Hammer (based on upon reading I, THE JURY) but tried LADY, GO DIE! at my urging and got turned around. Then ONE LONELY NIGHT sealed the deal. Read the comments below, too.

Finally, the DARK ANGEL trilogy, written by Matt Clemens and me, gets a very nice appraisal here (scroll down till you see Jessica Alba).


You Slay Me

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Bouchercon 2013

Here are two images courtesy of Kensington editor Michaela Hamilton – a photo of Barb, Matt Clemens and me at the recent Albany Bouchercon (courtesy of Mike’s friend Gene) and the cover of the new Trash ‘n’ Treasures Christmas novella, ANTIQUES SLAY RIDE.

Antiques Slay Ride

SLAY RIDE is available only as an e-book, and is the first of three such novellas (all with Christmas themes) that will appear over a three-year period. This one came out very well, and works as an introduction to the series and the characters if you’ve never tried one of these novels by Barbara Allan (Barb and me).

Barb is working on her draft of the next full-length novel in the series, ANTIQUES SWAP – at about the half-way mark. I am deep into SUPREME JUSTICE, a political thriller for Thomas & Mercer, that Matt Clemens has helped develop. It’s due November 1 and, with any luck, I’ll make that deadline.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER has done very well so far, particularly on e-book, which is Thomas & Mercer’s long suit. As I write this, we are still number #1 in serial killer books. If you had a chance to read it, or EARLY CRIMES, let me again say how much positive reviews (however short) are helpful. I’ve been told by a credible source that even negative reviews can be helpful at Amazon and Barnes & Noble – statistics apparently show that books with no reviews don’t sell as well as books with primarily negative reviews. Right now we’re at 34 reviews and a four-star average for WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER. (EARLY CRIMES has 13 reviews and a five-star rating, which is very nice for such an offbeat little book.)

Barb and I have been watching horror movies, in honor of Halloween, with an emphasis on 3-D (we are set up for that in my office). The new 3-D blu-ray of the classic HOUSE OF WAX (SCTV fans, all together now: “Have you theen my paddleball?”) is quite wonderful and shows how effective and fun 3-D effects can be (from an eyepatch-sporting director who could not perceive the effect himself). Though it’s not a great movie, AMITYVILLE 3-D is also out on blu-ray as part of a boxed set of Amityville movies, and it too has wonderful 3-D effects, as well as a strong performance from the too-little-seen Candy Clark.

On the other hand, we tried to watch GATSBY and bailed after twenty minutes of pretentious self-conscious bilge. I avoided this in the theater but gave in to my 3-D curiosity for an attempted home viewing. I never dreamed Baz Lurhmann could make a film more dreadful than his MOULIN ROUGE, but he seems to have knocked the ball out of the park and into the crapper – based on the twenty minutes we watched. (Barb: “Are you having fun?” M.A.C.: “Not in the least.” Barb: “Can we stop watching this?” M.A.C.: “Absolutely.”)

We also took in the 3-D version of GRAVITY at our new multi-plex and were far less impressed than the critics at Rotten Tomatoes who give it 98% fresh. It’s an impressive piece of filmmaking in the technical sense, and well-acted, working fine as a thrill ride. The story, such as it is, is weak, with Sandra Bullock’s character in particular poorly thought through. It’s probably worth seeing, but keep in mind it’s one of those one-damn-thing-after-another movies. It also has one of those New Age orchestral scores with a wordless soprano caterwauling in a vaguely spiritual manner – the kind I hope never to hear again.

Here’s my blurb: “Way better than GATSBY!”

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There’s a really nice review of several Hard Case titles, including SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, at Barnes and Noble’s web site.

Here’s a nice review of COMPLEX 90.

Finally, no firm news on QUARRY for Cinemax yet, but here’s an interesting interview with a mention of the pilot from an HBO exec.


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.

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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.

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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