Friday, July 29, 2005

International Thriller Writers Awards


The International Thriller Writers is proud to debut a new literary award, aptly titled “The Thrillers.” For the first time, novels that either transcend or amplify the traditional genre into the realm of thriller will be honored and acknowledged.

This award honors authors whose body of work in books or film has had a significant positive impact on literature over a sustained period of time. Only authors whose body of work encompasses a minimum of twenty years are eligible. Each year the ITW board will poll the membership for suggestions. The board will choose the honoree by majority vote.

This award marks the best of the best. And we have an exceptional panel of judges to choose this esteemed title:
John Saul (Chief Judge)
Alex Kava
James Siegel
Anne Frasier
Ali Karim

This award honors our debut novelists. Eligibility covers an author's first novel publication, whether under the author's name or a pseudonym. The 2005 judges are:
Elaine Flinn (Chief Judge)
F. Paul Wilson
David Liss
P.J. Parrish
David Montgomery

Not all thrillers debut in hardcover, and the ITW wanted to acknowledge those authors working within the field of the paperback original. This year's judges are:
John Case (Chief Judge)
Louise Ure
Larry Gandle

This award acknowledges the thriller written for the screen or stage. Overseeing this award is a distinguished panel of novelists and experts in the film industry.
Gregg Hurwitz (Chief Judge)
Will Staeger
Jeff Kleeman
John Moore
Shawn Levy

The top five finalists in each category will be announced at Left Coast of Crime in Bristol England (March 16-19, 2006).

Then the winners will be announced with much fanfare at the International Festival of Thrillers (June 29-July2, 2006) at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, AZ.


i'm really looking forward to this book.

video and other cool stuff:
paragon hotel

play the online game:
horror world

Thursday, July 28, 2005

man with the screaming brain

how can that not be funny?

i expected this movie to be campy, which is was, but ohmygod, some of the visuals were hilarious!!! i'm laughing right now thinking about it.

bruce campbell was there and talked about the movie. there was the generic wasted frat guy in the back of the theater who kept making wiseass comments about the acting, etc, but bruce handled it well. this was a special one-night screening. a cut version will be on the sci-fi channel in september. damn. makes me wish i had cable because i'd love to see it again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

mental fatigue

i've been going at this second draft for a month and have reached the point of mental fatigue. you know when you look at a simple word and can't figure out how to spell it? word? wurd? werd? and you can't remember if the period goes before the quotation mark? a month of straight writing is about my limit, but i'm going to try to make it another week.

i wish simon would get here.

six months ago i started getting groceries from simon delivers. last delivery, all the frozen food was thawed and the ice cream was really warm cream. so i dumped simon -- and was forced to actually leave my house, get in the car, and drive to the grocery store. i promptly decided i must give simon another chance. i've finished off the last package of ramin noodles. the last box of stale cereal. the last can of beans and last tortilla.

come on, simon!!

complaint from seat 29E

have a nice flight

Saturday, July 23, 2005

what was her name?

I can’t remember the names of all of the editors I’ve had over the years. I know that seems awful, but you have to understand that some were only around for a few months. And back before email, it wasn’t unusual for a writer to have no contact with her editor other than a revision letter. When I was writing for HarperCollins, I had three editors for one book. The first editor accepted and approved my next contracted book idea, then left. When I was half finished with that book, the second editor called and asked if I would be interested in making my current book into a dark suspense. She told me to go out and get Lisa Gardner’s The Perfect Husband, which everybody was talking about. I’d been begging to write that kind of book for years, so I agreed to begin moving in that direction. I didn’t want to toss my current project to write a big suspense when I wasn’t under contract for a big suspense. It was also strange and unprofessional of her to have called with her plan without including my agent in the discussion and at least adding an addendum to my current contract. By the time I mailed in the manuscript, editor number three was on stage. She asked for a complete revision. She was about twenty-five and loved the television show Friends. Could I turn this dark suspense into the book equivalent of Friends? They would put a cartoon cover on it because those books were selling very well. Did I watch Friends? (It had been on about four years at that time.) There’s a sitcom called Friends. It’s really good. She wanted something like Friends.

I can’t remember that editor’s name.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

timing -- or how I learned to quit thinking for myself and follow the market

Timing. What an important word.
Timing is evasive and tormenting -- similar to luck, because we have very little control over it.
Timing has been against me from the beginning of my career.

In the mid-eighties, I wrote a romantic adventure. The hero, or anti-hero, had a viewpoint and said weird things. He was immature, selfish and rude. He was like a real person. At that time, these things simply weren’t done in romance novels. Most male characters didn’t even have viewpoints, let alone much personality. This risky book finally sold to Pocket and had a print run of 7,000 copies. Thrown away, was how an editor from another house described the fiasco. The book developed a cult following. Editors were reading and talking about it. Writers were reading and talking about it. A lot of people tried to emulate it. Janet Evanovich recently stated in an interview that she’d read it and tried to write something similar. Today someone would probably pick it up and wonder what the fuss was about. But at that time the book was seminal and groundbreaking in a quiet way. It was also my first book and first commercial failure.

In the early nineties, I told my editor Beth de Guzman at Bantam that I really wanted to write straight suspense. She told me that was impossible; they already had A female writer – Tami Hoag -- writing suspense. Swear to God, those were her exact words. That’s really all I have to say about that; it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Friday, July 15, 2005

smoky bars and loud guitars

Went to hear the shut-ins play last night at the Turf Club in St. Paul. My kids started this band about a year ago and will be releasing their first CD this fall on a local label called Modern Radio. Last night the shut-ins opened for Grant Hart. Grant used to be in Husker Du, but many people don’t know that he continues to write the most amazing songs years after the Husker Du breakup. I will post some links here if I ever wake up. Not used to dragging my butt home at 3:00 am.

all music

If you like to hear live bands but worry about your ears, get a pair of Hearos. They are worth the fifteen bucks, because they don’t muffle the music. I can’t help you with the cigarette smoke though.

Here in Minneapolis/St Paul, we have a lot of joke bands. These are bands where the musicians might actually be very competent, but they settle on some gimmick and that becomes their thing and the music is beyond secondary. Because of a scheduling mistake, one of those bands played last night too. Not mentioning any names…but they draw a weird crowd. Kinda like do-bees gone wild. The fans are there because of the gimmick, and somehow they actually become part of the gimmick.

Does any of this make sense? The screen is blurry. Think I’ll go back to bed.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

why there will probably never be a sequel to Hush

Three years after its release, I'm still getting an average of two emails a week asking if I ever plan to write a sequel to Hush. I think I’ll have to make a special place on my website to address this issue, but I’ll tackle it little here.

I had two different endings in mind for Hush depending on whether or not I wrote a sequel. I always kind of had a sequel in mind, and I think readers have picked up on that. Anyhoo, my publisher said there would be no sequel because they wanted me to go in a completely different direction. They wanted the next book to be a mystery, no murders, more along the lines of literary women’s fiction. I was given a list of British mysteries to read, mysteries that unfolded slowly and were very internal. Oops. Excuse my yawn. Whew. So, that’s how Sleep Tight ended up with the mystery subplot. Once Hush came out and did well, I was asked to rewrite Sleep Tight and add murders so it would be more like Hush. I was also asked to submit a proposal for a sequel to Hush.

Okay, I’m already in trouble because I ended the book differently than I would have if I’d known about the sequel. But the mystery of Ethan’s birth was never solved. All we know is that he has to be the child of someone fairly well-known, and his life would be in grave danger if the truth ever came out. So I proposed his story, which I still think would be damn good. They didn’t want Ethan’s story, period. They wanted a police procedural with Max and Ivy solving a case together. I wasted several months trying to come up with something my editor and I would both like before realizing it was never going to happen. Even though I’d left some things open in Hush, I’d also tied up too many threads for the new book to work the way they wanted it. The only thing that made sense to me was telling Ethan’s story, so I asked if we could move to something new, and that was that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

best alternative rock of the year so far -- amazon list

i posted about the hold steady a couple of weeks ago. now i see the music editor of amazon has listed their album as his number one choice for the year. i'm not sure how i feel about that. glad that other people are taking notice of the band, but i i'm also uneasy about being part of mainstream thought. :D as far as the others on the list -- the only album i've heard is sleater-kinney's new one.

Best Alternative Rock of the Year So Far: 2005

by Peter Hilgendorf, Music Editor

1. Separation Sunday ~ The Hold Steady (Audio CD)

2. Let It Die ~ Feist (Audio CD)

3. I am a Bird Now ~ Antony and the Johnsons (Audio CD)

4. The Woods [Bonus DVD] [LIMITED EDITION] ~ Sleater-Kinney (Audio CD)

5. Picaresque ~ Decemberists (Audio CD)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

the window

and because i couldn't stop myself, here's an enlargement of the window behind the woman:

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strange photo

this photo was recently listed on ebay.
the seller knew nothing about it other than to date it around 1920.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

the hole in the page

Years ago, I read a book on writing called Danse Macabre, by Stephen King. In it, he talked about falling through the hole in the page.

That happens to me. It probably happens to all writers. But King was talking about moments, maybe hours in a day. I vanish for months.

I have to confess that I dread falling through that hole in the page. More and more, as the months and years pass, I dread it. Once I’m in there, everything is fine. I don’t mind being in there. In fact, I LIKE being in there. But it’s after I come back than I realize how disturbing it is to leave the real world behind for so long. It wasn’t an issue when I was starting out, because I didn’t have that large span of time to look back on. I couldn’t turn my head and see that years upon years had passed while I was in a different place. A fictional place. A place where I lose track of seasons and events that mark the passage of time.

I will always write. It’s what I do, but it gets harder to make myself pick up the story again, to fall through that hole. And it happens so quickly now. A snap of my fingers and I’m there, almost like someone who has learned self-hypnosis. I took a long break from writing this spring/summer, but my break is over.

The hole is always black. That’s really too bad….