Monday, October 31, 2005

my kid's halloween costume

guess who she was.

Once Upon a Crime Mystery Annex book Sale

a message from pat and gary at once upon a crime:


"Once Upon a Crime's Mystery Annex has run out of room. We've recently purchased several collections of some great titles, and haven't the shelf place for all of them. So...

For the next 2 weeks, we've set up a table in the store filled with about 250 books, all priced at $2 each, or 3 for $5! New titles added daily!"

for directions and hours, click on the once upon a crime link on the left.

also right there and worth a stop: treehouse records and french meadow bakery!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

halloween tale of terror

my brother's doppelganger

when i was fourteen and my younger brother was eight, we lived in an isolated desert town in southern New Mexico. my brother stood out in the largely Hispanic community because he had straight white hair and pale skin. it was Halloween. he was going as a vampire. he and my mother were in the bathroom where she was putting on his makeup. i stood watching in the doorway. we were chatting and laughing. someone knocks at the front door. i leave the bathroom, go approximately ten steps to the door. turn on the porch light and open the door, expecting a trick or treater. there is my brother, standing, not on the porch, but at the bottom of the steps, dressed in his black cape. nothing on his head. his white hair. he looks terrified. my mind is struggling with the impossible logistics of the situation. i ask how he got out there. I ask what's wrong? he runs beyond the circle of the porch light, into the dark. i return to the bathroom to tell my mom. there they both are, just as i left them.
this was a very small, one story house. probably less than 1,000 square feet. the bathroom was just a few paces from the front door. the bathroom had a window, but it was high, almost to the ceiling, and very small. if my mother had been able to stuff him through, he would have dropped six feet on the other side, then would have had to run around the house to get to the front door. logistically, it would have been impossible to pull off.

Over the years, I've asked my brother about this and he doesn't even remember it. He just gives me the same puzzled and confused look he and my mother gave me that night.

International Thriller Writers, Inc. invitation

International Thriller Writers, Inc. wants you!! use the link on the bottom left to go to the International Thriller Writers site -- and please sign up for the newsletter while you're there!!

Readers Invitation:

International Thriller Writers, Inc., is excited to invite you to attend
the world premier of the International Festival of Thrillers ---
ThrillerFest. It will be June 29 to July 2, 2006 at the fabulous Arizona
Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

You'll find a wealth of exciting panels and events with many of your
favorite best-selling and up-and-coming authors. Here's a taste:
Spotlight Guests like Douglas Preston, Brad Meltzer, RL Stine and John
Lescroart; David Morrell discussing the making of his ground-breaking
novel First Blood into the movie "Rambo;" a Readers Reception in which
ITW's THRILLER anthology will be unveiled and sold for the first time; and
the ITW Awards Banquet where the first annual International Thriller
Awards will be presented.

Don't miss out on the fun and excitement! To register or learn more, go
to Early Bird Registration is only $195 and the
Biltmore is providing a special discounted block of rooms set aside for
ThrillerFest attendees. Hurry though, they're going fast!

ThrillerFest is for everyone, but especially for readers of thriller
fiction. Not only is it a chance to meet favorite thriller authors and
learn more about the genre, but ThrillerFest also welcomes your input on
the programming, so don't forget to fill out the questionnaire when you
register. Go to and join us as we make thriller

Monday, October 24, 2005

here, kitty kitty kitty

anybody in the twin cities area need a kitten? or three kittens?
when my daughter was little, she was always dragging home kittens. flash-forward. my daughter is out of college and still dragging home kittens. this time a feral cat had kittens near her place. she had three people who said they'd take one, she caught the kittens, and now here we are a week later. nobody even came to look at the things. they're cute as hell, so i'm sure one glance and that would be that.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

a literary meme

i was tagged by jason, who has a beautiful blog
called the clarity of night

okay, this was fun, but harder than i thought it would be! I'm afraid i didn't do a very good job.

Here are the rules, if you decide to play:

1. Take first five novels from your bookshelf.
2. Book 1 -- first sentence.
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50.
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100.
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150.
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book.
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources.
10.Post to your blog.

my feeble attempt:

I hated to admit, even to myself, that i was excited by the prospect of interviewing a descendent of Mary Brown, who was probably the last person exhumed as a vampire in america.

I would always get there first, check in.

NO HLP FR BLND BABS PR LL GRLS Iam glad I bit mister Astlay

Bruce and I were walking down sunset, we found a roach on the sidewalk and we smoked it.

the bare skeleton, in our culture the very symbol of the terror of death, is in other cultures evidence that the body is safe and the living are out of harm's way.


food for the dead -- michael bell
the handmaid's tale -- margaret atwood
poor things -- alasdair gray
shakey -- neil young biography
vampires, burial, and death -- paul barber

i tag:

jeff the write thing
kelly words of a writer
emom a day in the life
rob anatomy of a book deal
jer my life's not an adventure...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

jeff's new blog

check out the write thing, and jeff's hilarious post about this: jeff's novel-making machine

no recovery for book sales

chains report another quarter loss.

used book sales up over 11%.


interesting that this is close to the decline figure of 12% for mass market fiction.

i also find it interesting that in all of the articles i've read about the massive increase in used books sales, no one ever mentions the proliferation of online swap clubs.

years ago, i put this dedication in a book: special thanks to everyone who bought this book new.

i got hate mail. angry readers said they would never read another one of my books because of that dedication.

i have nothing against used bookstores. i love used bookstores. i have friends who own used bookstores, but i wish there were some way to control new book sales. i wish they couldn't be sold used for a year. i wish amazon wouldn't sell used books right next to the new ones. and i really wish they wouldn't sell used books BEFORE the new book is even released. 10 - 15 years ago, publishers should have united to tackle this problem. now it could be too late.

Monday, October 17, 2005

a century of fakers

One thing that occupies a big space in my head is worrying about all of the pretenders out there. Those people who have somehow made it to a position of power simply because they are so full of shit. They have somehow been able to trick a large number of people into thinking they know what they're talking about. What I find fascinating is how a faker can fake another faker into thinking he's real. Fakery is everywhere. Musicians. Writers. Lawyers. Doctors. All the way to the president, who might be one of the biggest fakers. How did this way of living become so rampant? Did my generation - the baby boomers - make it acceptable? When we hung up our hash pipes and quit tripping in the park, did we move on to another form of entertainment where we pretended to be adults? It's tough, this fakery. When we live in a world so inundated with fakers, it makes it hard to know if a person is legitimate, or just a clown in a closet.

(this is why chronic complainers shouldn't have blogs.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

the loneliness of the middle distance runner

i believe that characters who are alone and are loners are integral to most suspense plots.

Carolyn Wheat, in her book How to Write Killer Fiction, says, "Surround your hero with friends, and you lose the intense identification that makes true suspense so compelling."

somebody i know doesn't believe this, and always thinks my protagonists should have a huge support group of friends and family.

Friday, October 14, 2005

sex in the morgue

so, whadya think?

inappropriate for protagonists in a thriller/horror novel? and i'm not talking sex with a dead body, or next to a dead body.
not on an autopsy table
not in a cooler

i see nothing wrong with it, but i've been led to believe that i may need professional help.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

do elephants jump?

let's try this again. yesterday when i posted this, my blog went screwy.

David Feldman is the guru of pop culture. You've probably heard of his wonderful Imponderable books where he tackles tough questions such as, do elephants jump?

dave's website

Monday, October 10, 2005

on the stereo


i forgot how great this is.

got a mint vinyl pressing for my birthday. i don't think it's ever been played.

thanks, neil. :)


Friday, October 07, 2005


the wait never gets any easier.

turned in my manuscript a month early.

at first i don't even want to hear anything. i just want to enjoy being done.
but after a few weeks, i begin to worry. by week five, i've mentally put my house on the market and am moving in with one of my kids. i'm calculating how long i can be unemployed.

even if you're under contract, they can always turn down a book. i've seen it happen. not to me, but to others. and it usually begins with silence.

then i get the call.

the book is a fairly big departure, which is why i was so worried. they were trying to decide how to market it. dark suspense verging on horror.

breathe and smile

Thursday, October 06, 2005

editing your life

Writing is solving problems. Writing is making the right choices. I used to be somebody who just went with the flow. Whatever happened, happened. Lalalalala. Not anymore. I'm constantly penciling in corrections to my life. Should have done this. Should have done that. Could have avoided this, if only I'd done this or that.

I like to blame this character glitch on writing.

After spending years of constantly looking for what's wrong, I recently realized I do the same thing with my life. I look at every scene from every angle. I mentally follow the path that any given choice may or may not present. Daily events become something I labor over and weigh, while trying to guess the outcome. Every day comes in three acts. You have to think ahead. You have to see past the headlights or you'll end up in revision hell.

Monday, October 03, 2005

structure, part 2

robert gregory browne has a great article on structure here:

building your house

Saturday, October 01, 2005