Tuesday, November 29, 2005

pale immortal, by anne frasier

Or liker still to one who should take leave
Of pale immortal death, and with a pang
As hot as death's is chill, with fierce convulse
Die into life: so young Apollo anguish'd:
His very hair, his golden tresses famed
Kept undulation round his eager neck.

john keats


Welcome to Tuonela, a sleepy Wisconsin town haunted by events of 100 years ago, when a man who may have been a vampire slaughtered the town's citizens and drank their blood. Now, another murderer is killing the most vulnerable...and draining their bodies of blood.
Evan Stroud lives in darkness. The pale prisoner of a strange disease that prevents him from ever seeing the light of day, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire." When troubled teenager Graham Stroud appears on Evan's doorstep, claiming to be his long-lost son, Evan's uneasy solitude is shattered.
Having escaped Tuonela's mysterious pull for several years, Rachel Burton is now back in town, filling in as coroner. Even as she seeks to identify the killer, and uncover the source of the evil that seems to pervade the town, she is drawn to Evan by a power she's helpless to understand or resist....
As Graham is pulled deeper and deeper into Tuonela's depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld, Rachel and Evan team up to save him. But the force they are fighting is both powerful and elusive...and willing to take them to the very mouth of hell.

coming september 2006



emeraldcite has a blog that is going to be fun and interesting.

boise conference -- murder in the grove

this always looks like a great conference.

murder in the grove

This year's Murder in the Grove, June 2-3, 2006, with Guest of Honor Sara
Paretsky, will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sisters in Crime. One
of the top agents in the country, Meredith Bernstein, will be attending and
meeting with writers, as well as new agent (and former author with many
years experience in the film and television industry) Jo Grossman. Giving a
day-long "How to Write Killer Fiction" pre-conference workshop will be
Carolyn Wheat, who was also one of the writers at the founding of Sisters in

Saturday, November 26, 2005

i love the apple store computer geniuses

they call them geniuses instead of computer geeks. i'm not sure genius is any better than geek. the poor guys wear T-shirts with the word genius on the chest. it almost seems as if they are being mocked. i'd really like to see the list of words apple marketing department came up with when they were trying to think of a substitute for geek.

guru. i'll bet that was on the list.

when my son was little, a neighbor kid who didn't speak much english used to call him mr. impossible because neil could fix anything. maybe that would be a better name than genius. but ANYWAY, my computer is back home and repaired in 24 hours. i can't believe it. yesterday they told me they would have to send it to texas, but apparently someone decided to install a new hard drive at the apple store. i didn't play the writer card, or the bitch card -- which i was advised to do by a few people. i never tell people what i do for a living. they just think i'm the lady with the hairy laptop. you should have seen all the cat hair that showed up under those intense lights. grooossssss!!! :D

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

computer problems

my computer has been acting up for a few months, and now i think it's taking a final gasp. if an apple genius can't install a new hard drive at the store on friday (can't believe i'm going to Mall of America on FRIDAY!!!!!), i may be MIA for a while.



Monday, November 21, 2005

now that's what i call viral

the bad plus asks bloggers to match writers to bands and now everybody's doing it and talking about it.

writers and bands

be sure and read the archives

Sunday, November 20, 2005

published and unpublished writers

I don't make a big distinction between published and unpublished writers. Yes, once you're published you are dealing with different issues, but we are all writers and we all love books and stories. Years ago, I was asked to judge a creative writing contest at a small college in Monmouth, Illinois. At that point in my career, I was feeling kind of bored and ambivalent and stale. I agreed to judge not knowing what to expect.

Almost every entry was unique and wonderful. Almost every entry blew me away. One student, who was studying to be a doctor, wrote poems that were amazing and skewed and hilarious. Like nothing I'd ever seen before or have seen since. His last name was Frietag. I remember that. I sometimes wonder if he went on to become a doctor or writer or both. Or a doctor who writes crazyass poems. Anyway, the entries inspired and humbled me. They reset my brain. They stripped away the crap that comes with being a published writer, the crap that can make you forget what this is really about. So I love unpublished writers. Because they have the energy and excitement I've lost. They are excited about the idea, not the royalty statement. They are focused on the story, not the business. Yes, I might know more about structure and pacing, but I sometimes need somebody to put me back in touch with my own imagination and creativity.

now here's a comic that has very little to do with the above post. i just liked it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Jer's red cross volunteer blog

my friend jer is in florida where she is doing volunteer work for the red cross.
she is blogging from her phone, so posts are sporadic. a bunch of new ones went up today.

in her regular life in milwaukee, she is a counselor, stand-up comic, editor, writer, mom, grandmother, world traveler, and many other things!

jer's blog


Thursday, November 17, 2005

win a DVD of Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom

what a great contest!
were we talking about this here? Lars Von Trier's the Kingdom I and II? i'm always raving about it, so i can't remember.
jon the crime spree guy from crimespree magazine is having a contest where you can enter to win a DVD of THE KINGDOM, series I. woo-hoo! not to be confused with the horrid stephen king version, kingdom hospital.
this was orginally made for Danish television. Von Trier planned to make a Kingdom III, but one of the main actors died. not sure that's the only reason it didn't happen, but it was one of the reasons.

"The brilliance of Lars von Trier's television serial The Kingdom was so clear from the outset, it bypassed television in both the UK and the USA and was granted a cinema release in its own right. In native Denmark, it is said the streets were empty each night of broadcast and roughly half the population tuned in to see each installment. Never has the fantastic and the grotesque been so accessible, mainly because it's never been presented in such an familiar, tried-and-tested context.

The opening credits tell us that the hospital -The Kingdom - was built on unsettled, spirit-infested marshland, which contain forces too powerful to lie dormant any longer. When the film's title card cracks and smashes open, allowing blood gushing out from behind, it's not hard to guess Something Bad is just around the corner.

It's a hospital drama flowing over with the usual romances, staff clashes, blackmail plots and troublesome patients; in other words, juicy, often hilarious soap opera entertainment of the first degree. It is also an eerie, unsettling and, at times, downright terrifying supernatural mystery, filled with phantom ambulances which contain neither paramedics nor patients, the ghost of a little girl who haunts the corridors of the hospital and the most terrifying pregnancy since Rosemary's Baby."

the kingdom contest!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

writers and public masks

a clinical psychologist encourages shy writers to pretend to be someone else when they are out in public. to do and say and think what a character might do and say. make up a complete history that has nothing to do with who you really are. i've seen this tactic suggested a lot lately. am i the only one who finds it horribly disturbing?
i'm a shy person, and i completely get the concept, but damn. it's just SO WRONG in so many ways. what does this say about our society that we not only accept this idea, but embrace it?
what is the point of being alive if we have to pretend to be somebody we aren't? and are encouraged to do it? oh, it's business, you might say. you have to do what you have to do in order to sell units. business over here; real life over there.
NONONO!! Who you are and what you do should be the SAME THING!!!! it's hard enough to find yourself and keep a grip on that self without being told to bring out a Sybil or doppleganger to do your social work.

sex outside the genre

people have been posting about sex in mysteries. mary louisa and pj parrish wrote about it in their blogs. if i weren't so lazy, i'd provide links.

there has always been talk about how most men of mystery can't write love scenes. or even sex scenes.

most people know this already, but before writing thrillers i wrote romantic suspense, women's fiction, and romance under another name. Thirteen books. So you'd think i'd have the sex and romance figured out. yesterday i spent a large part of the day removing the romantic relationship from my current project. it was just clunky. why? i should be able to do this. and it wasn't that there was no time for romance. it wasn't some ridiculous scene where gunfire is everywhere and the couple decides to make out. there was a place for it. so now i'm thinking that mysteries, and in my case thrillers, don't often lend themselves to deep relationships. the entire book is focused in another direction. in romance, it always leads to consumation, even if understated and subconscious. in romance, the unspoken goal is the bonding of the main characters. this is where the book has been leading from page one, no matter how many diversions it may have taken. in a thriller, the goal is to find the killer, stop the killer, defeat the killer. the reader is in that race with you. hopefully. and anything that takes them out of that race just feels wrong. or maybe i just can't write romance anymore.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Saturday, November 12, 2005

tarot for plotting and characterization

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards.
Here, said she, Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.

T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"

the guest speaker at our local writers' meeting was a tarot reader. she explained how she uses tarot cards to help writers with plot and characterization. she has a spread she uses to define a character, with cards representing things like inner and outer goals and motivations. she does another spread for the hero's journey. if she's hung up on some aspect of her own writing, she will often pull a card from the deck for guidance. she has a website, if you'd like to read more:

tarot by arwen

Friday, November 11, 2005

harry, the incredible barfing dog

meet harry.
he barfs just minutes into every car ride.

this is harry after giving him benadrly, which the vet said could help.

he went fifteen minutes without throwing up.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

minneapolis music collection

the good old days:

the collection

pretty cool stuff. they even have ecards!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

on the stereo -- back by popular demand

Belle and Sebastian -- Push Barman to Open Old Wounds

I've been a fan of Belle and Sebastian for eight years, before the word twee came along to describe them. This is a three-disc compilation, full of many of my favorite songs, but also missing some great ones like Seymour Stein from Boy With the Arab Strap.

Neil Young -- Zuma

Neil Young -- kinda like Dylan. You either like him or you don't.
this is a wonderful album.

I'm sure some people think the doodle cover is funny and great, but i don't care for it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

grammar shrammar

the video for my book is done. almost.
but the voiceover has a grammatic error that will be a big deal to correct. and it's right at the beginning.


it says: the town was no different from any other small town.

it should be: the town was no different than any other small town.

would you have noticed the mistake?

i wrote it correctly, but put a question beside it. checked, and found i was right, so never said anything else about it. i should have followed up, because the question led to it being changed without my knowing.

Than is used as a conjunction; from is a preposition requiring an object. Your example, the town was no different than any other small town is correct because you're linking two clauses. I know, I know, you're thinking "But any other small town isn't an independent clause." True, but there is an implied "was." You mean the town was no different than any other small town was.

Monday, November 07, 2005

suicidal poets

Signs Of Suicidal Tendencies Found Hidden In Dead Poets' Writings -- posted 2001

An analysis of the use of certain words may uncover hidden signs of suicidal tendencies in writers of poetry, according to new research.

"Suicidal poets are more detached from others and more preoccupied with themselves," says Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, M.A., of the University of Pennsylvania. "Our research also illustrates how text analysis can reveal characteristics of writing that may be associated with suicide and therefore could be useful in predicting suicide among poets."

Stirman and co-author James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin, note that suicide rates are much higher among poets than among other literary writers and the general population, although most poets do not commit suicide. Many suicidal poets suffer from some form of depressive disorder throughout their lives, however.

The poets who ultimately committed suicide also used more words associated with death than did the non-suicide group.

The study is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine

Using text-analysis software, researchers compared words used in 156 poems written by nine poets who committed suicide to words used in 135 poems written by nine poets who did not commit suicide.

The suicidal and non-suicidal poets were matched as closely as possible by nationality, era, education and sex. All were American, British, or Russian.

In poems written throughout their careers, the poets who committed suicide used significantly more first-person singular self-references (such as "I," "me" and "my") and fewer first-person plural words than did the non-suicidal poets.

In addition, the suicidal poets tended to decrease their use of communication words (such as "talk," "share" and "listen") over time, while the non-suicidal poets tended to increase their use of such words.

Suicidal poets selected for the study were John Berryman, Hart Crane, Sergei Esenin, Adam L. Gordon, Randall Jarrell, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sylvia Plath, Sarah Teasdale and Anne Sexton. The were matched to non-suicidal poets including Matthew Arnold, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joyce Kilmer, Denise Levertov, Robert Lowell, Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak, Adrienne Rich and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

you move me

i had this idea i thought would be kind of fun and exciting, but i've shown it to 3 people and none of them seemed particularly impressed. if i'd done it (i haven't completely tossed it out) i would have started with a post of rules. for instance, i wouldn't have moved if only 5 people voted. it would have to have been maybe 5000 votes or something. my son pointed out that people would only find it interesting if i were sent someplace where i would be totally out of my element. a fish out of water story. but i already have that going on.

you move me

Friday, November 04, 2005

a quirky meme!

i was tagged by allen at a novel idea for a quirky meme. i have the feeling people in my family would do a much better job with this list, but here's my attempt:

1. I think a lot of women my age are lame, especially white women. And I'm white.
2. I never leave the house without antibacterial hand gel. I went two years without catching a cold. Caught the last one from my hair stylist when I was getting ready to do several book signings - so I was sick as hell the whole time.
3. I never cook. I cooked three crappy meals a day for 20 years. That's enough.
4. I love music more than books. I don't think rock gets enough respect as an art form.
5. I might be an acid casualty. If you ever meet me, you'll notice that there is often a delay to my responses. It takes my brain a little while to process what you just said.
6. If I see somebody crying, even somebody I don't know, I cry too. Once I was driving down the street and saw a woman crying. I started crying.
7. I know nothing about sports, especially football, and don't want to. I used to enjoy watching my kids play hockey and softball, but why would I want to watch somebody I don't even know run and slide and fall down? Yawn.
8. I DETEST cold weather, but live in Minnesota. Every fall I talk about moving, about GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THIS HELLISH HELL, but can't decide where to go so I never do it.
9. Has Phillip Seymour Hoffman ever been named sexiest man alive? If not, he should be.
10. I love zombies!

i haven't kept up with my blog reading today, so i don't know who's been tagged.

tag: jer -- she's in new york right now, but she'll probably want to do this when she gets back
tag: emom

i'm so lazy today. i'll try to post links later!!

this was a fun meme -- thanks, allen!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

friends and family

do friends and family read your blog?
most of mine don't, or at least i don't think they do. i can understand if we're talking about somebody you see every day. i wouldn't expect my kids to read my blog, but what about people in other parts of the country that you don't talk to very often? seems like a good way to keep updated, but most relatives and friends act as if the idea of going to my blog is weird. i shouldn't say that. most don't even acknowledge that i mentioned it. :D

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

contest! drawing! win a copy of who died in here!

the wonderful pat dennis has invited me to be part of her november contest. answer a question correctly about one of my books, and your name will be entered in a drawing for WHO DIED IN HERE?

here is the link, with all of the information you need:

the winner will be announced December 1. wow. that's only a month away???
when you're visiting the Penury Press site, be sure to read about SILENCE OF THE LOONS, a recently released anthology by minnesota mystery writers. Pat is one of the contributors. i have the book, but haven't read it yet. i plan to read pat's story soon -- maybe today -- and report back!