Monday, February 27, 2006

mommy, that man flashed me!

flashing going on all over the place.

i've submitted to both fictional musings and flashing in the gutters. both places have had some pretty dark submissions, but i've noticed
Fictional Musings seems to have more relationship-driven, introspective, emotional fiction.
Flashing in the Gutters is...well, it can be dark, ugly, and disturbing. my newest piece of flash fiction could have gone to either place, but it tied in with an earlier story i'd done for Flashing in the Gutters. look for it there and let me know your interpretation.

I've also written a tarot article for Crimespree Magazine. Not sure what issue it will be in. Crimespree started last year and is a GREAT magazine full of book reviews and interviews. The cost of a subscription is beyond reasonable; it's insanely cheap. i mean that in the most flattering way. my article ties in ever-so-slightly with my tarot readings at Madame Sosostris.

and the winner is...


a second drawing--


gals, email me your addresses and i'll get the DVDs and CDs in the mail.


for those of you who didn't win, i'm thinking about keeping the names and having a DVD drawing every monday. new names can always be added. i'm also open to drawing ideas and suggestions!

oh, and the winning location?

i found this interesting and funny. i know several people who live in Savannah and near Savannah, so i deliberately didn't tell them about the contest. Bek from Georgia dropped in, but she surprised me by voting for Tampa.

top location: SAVANNAH

second: TAMPA

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Show of hands

Bouchercon 2006, Madison

the very first Thrillerfest, Phoenix, JUNE/JULY

who's going?

i've registered for both, but thought i would probably cancel thrillerfest. now it's beginning to look like i might cancel bouchercon instead. my local midwest fiction writers is having their workshop and signing the weekend of bouchercon. that wouldn't be enough to keep me from attending bouchercon, but the Midwest Bookseller Association trade show is also going on that weekend.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

DVD, CD drawing monday!

i'll report the top location and the winner of the drawing on Monday.

stay tuned!

if you haven't yet voted, scroll down to see the list of locations.

you can post your choice or email it to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

more nastiness -- am i wearing a kick me in the ass sign?

i just received a threatening email accusing me of trademark infringement. jeesuz! i don't give a flying f*** what these things are called. what is wrong with people?


all better now

updated message from flying f*** airlines. (trademarked)

for those who missed it, I received the following email about the phrase "book trailer". what i found particularly interesting and telling is her repeated statements about having contacted the person who made my video -- which i knew wasn't true. it does appear BOOK TRAILER was trademarked in 2002, but i really doubt that could ever hold up in court. like tanya said, it's a descriptive phrase. plus the word trailer being used in this manner wasn't this person's idea to begin with. for now i've removed the BOOK TRAILER ad from my template. not sure what we'll do about that. i always preferred to call them book videos anyway.

Dear Ms. Frasier,

It was brought to my attention that you are using the
term "Book Trailer" to advertise your video. I'm sure
you aren't aware that the term is a US Registered
Trademark to Circle of Seven Productions, the original
creators of Book Trailers.
Our attorney has advised us to start by asking you to
please change the term name. The person who made this
video for you is aware of this issue. She may feel
that she is above the law, but you may not feel that
We aren't trying to threaten anyone, but to inform
people that the term was registered. We have invested
a great deal of money for this term. Should it not be
changed we will have to inform your publisher. We
truly hope it doesn't come to that.
I'm sorry that the person who did this for you did not
tell you that we've contacted her prevsiously.
Please respond within 10 days to let us know your
intent on this issue.
Thank you for your understanding.

Sheila Clover English
Circle of Seven Productions

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

website information

i've had a few people contact me and ask why my website hasn't been updated. it turns out they are somehow ending up on a test page, not the real website. not sure how that happened, but the opening page for my website should look like this:

the address is

the link on the left will also take you to the correct place.

we'll now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Johari window

emeraldcite posted this on his blog. it's pretty cool.

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built.

my johari window

Saturday, February 18, 2006

totally criminal cocktail hour

You're invited to attend Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour hosted by The Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minnesota. Stillwater is a beautiful rivertown located 30 miles east of St. Paul. Victorian homes, bluffs, river valleys. Movies have been filmed there. Beautiful Girls, Grumpy Old Men, some Fargo scenes. That was back before grants were cut and there was still an incentive to film in Minnesota.
But that's another story...

Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour

Where: The Dock Cafe -- Stillwater, Minnesota
When: March 1, 4:30 - 6:00
How much: Ten bucks for appetizers. (Cash bar.)
Who: Yours truly, along with Pat Dennis, writer, stand-up comic, and social butterfly.

I haven't been to one of these, but I think Pat and I talk for a few minutes about writing, then mingle and get wasted.

My big concern comes from the words cocktail hour.
Does this mean dressing up?
I own one summer skirt. The rest of my wardrobe consists of jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers. Should I go shopping?

I feel bad about people paying ten bucks. I can think of it this way. They are paying 9 for Pat and 1 for me. Then I don't feel so bad. I'll also give everybody a Pale Immortal DVD. If the evening goes well, this could kind of be the start of something... My friend Jer is also a stand-up comic... hmmm....

Here's something i cut from the Valley Bookseller site:

The Valley Bookseller presents a Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour, part of a new series of literary events featuring popular thriller and mystery writers.
Sponsored by The Valley Bookseller, Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour complements A Taste for Books (an on-going series of literary luncheon events), to offer the opportunity to hear presentations and meet favorite authors in intimate, informal settings. Joci Tilsen, owner of The Valley Bookseller, an independent bookstore located on Main Street in historic downtown Stillwater says, "It's so important to me, as an independent bookseller, to offer much more than just books. The Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour is a fun way to enrich the literary lives of our customers.
People always love to meet their favorite authors and have their books signed in person, and we thought we would try this twist on the in-store appearance. The first event was so well received that we have decided to do several." The price of $10.00 includes the appetizer tasting, book signing, and the chance to visit with the authors (and you never know who else might show up!).

Join us at The Dock Cafe in downtown Stillwater.
Take out your calendar and mark the first Tuesday of each month to meet local mystery writers and other fans. Now, call and make your reservation. Reservations are required: call The Valley Bookseller at 651.430.3385. Cost of $10 includes appetizers and cash bar is available. Note that we've moved to the Dock Cafe.

Wednesday, March 1, 4:30 - 6 pm, Anne Frasier ( Before I Wake; Play Dead; Sleep Tight; Hush) and Pat Dennis (Hot Dish to Die For; Stand-Up and Die).
In Before I Wake, Frasier delivers a new blockbuster thriller about a one-time criminal profiler who will risk everything, including her own sanity, to lure out of hiding the madman who murdered her family--even if she herself becomes the number-one suspect.
In Hotdish To Die For, a collection of culinary mystery short stories by Pat Dennis, an award-winning humorist and writer, that prove it's often a crime to serve hotdish, a heartlander term for casserole. Dennis' fiction and humor have appeared in such publications as Woman's World and Minnesota Monthly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

David Feldman and Marshall Brain

David Feldman will be interviewed on Leonard Lopate's Show on WNYC, NPR along with Marshall Brain, the brain behind

Friday from 1-2 P.M. E.S.T. (probably won't get on until 1:15 or so). You can listen live (and possibly archived) here:

David is author of the Imponderable books, and always interesting. I believe you'll be able to call in with questions.


YOU MOVE ME started out as a publicity stunt that never really got off the ground, but i'm VERY grateful for all of your input. I DO want to move, and I DON'T have a clue about location. So now it's turned into a more practical thing where I'm hoping to be able to test a location next winter by living there a month or two. There's also the possiblity that I'll stay in MN and just do the snowbird thing. ick. i hate to even say that. it's conjuring up images of bingo and dentures.

Here is the list so far. I'm going to be weeding out some suggestions before I open up the voting.

PENNSYLVANIA ooh. like Transylvania

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

what would you do?

say you just met your editor for the first time. you're nervous. eating at some posh restaurant with white tablecloths and an intimidating waiter.

what would you do if you took a bite, began chewing, and suddenly found yourself with a mouthful of rancid, rotten food?

would you swallow it?

or spit the whole thing out in your cloth napkin?

(this never happened to me. honest.)

my avatar is so squished. hehe

Thursday, February 09, 2006

flashing in the gutters

i think i could get addicted to flash fiction. there's something very cathartic about writing a story, emailing it, and having it somewhat ready for viewing all in a matter of hours. that's good therapy!! not as good as those pink pills with the red flecks, but good.

recently started a flash fiction blog called flashing in the gutters

where he was kind enough to post my second flash fiction attempt:


my first flash fiction is at kelly parra's fictional musings

both have a lot of great stories posted and are open to submissions.

a season to sell -- rimbaud home on the market

Verlaine and Rimbaud: Poets from hell
The London home of Verlaine and Rimbaud, the enfants terribles of French poetry, is up for sale. A landmark of literary hedonism may be lost, says Christina Patterson

Published: 08 February 2006
He lived in a squalid loft in a seedy part of town. He was often drunk, drugged and violent. He abused his friends, but relied on them to bail him out. Baby-faced and fiercely talented, this lyricist of love and death had a cult following and an angelic smile. "I know these passions and disasters too well," wrote Arthur Rimbaud in 1873, "the rages, the debauches, the madness."

When he wrote those words, the great French poet was living in a house in Camden Town. The terraced house is still there, though in a dilapidated state and in an area that can only be described as bleak. Beside the front door there is a simple plaque: "The French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud lived here May-July 1873". The words can't begin to do justice to the slice of turbulent history that lies behind those walls. Since the house is currently on the market, it is a history that is in danger of being lost.

link to article

For details of the campaign to save 8 Royal College Street, contact gerry.harrison@

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

foreign sales

Many times the foreign copies of books look kind of...well, tacky.
Here's a beautiful Chinese copy of Hush. My photo doesn't do the cover justice. It's such a glossy, vivid red. A trade paperback that really feels nice too.

And speaking of the way a book feels... Here's the Japanese version of Play Dead. It's so tiny! And very soft. Has a little dust jacket! The ad strip at the bottom can also be removed (which I forgot to do for photo) to reveal the entire cover and jacket. I really love the size of it and the way it feels. The whole package is very nice.

Monday, February 06, 2006

BOOK VIDEOS -- Great marketing tool, or waste of time and money?

Here's an article I wrote for the Midwest Fiction Writers newsletter. Thought I'd post it here as well.

Great marketing tool, or a waste of time and money?

By now most people have heard of book videos or book trailers, and many have probably watched several. From my research, costs seem to start around $300.00 for something short and simple, and can go as high as $25,000.00. Videos vary greatly in quality depending upon who makes them. VidLit, which uses flash animation, seems to be the most expensive but they do a great job. Last time I checked they charged 5,000.000 per online minute. Yes, that's five-thousand bucks. One of the least expensive companies making trailers is Circle of Seven Productions. I'm not crazy about them, but a lot of people really like their videos which are done with actors and props and costumes. I chose to play the childbirth-is-painful card, use my own kid, and pay her not nearly enough for her time.

One author I questioned said her book video definitely increased her sales. But along with the online video she also made DVDs that included an author interview and an hour or two of writing tips. Other authors who claim an increase in sales already had a big readership and online following before they began making videos so they didn't have to worry about rounding up viewers. One writer said he especially liked to use his video when speaking to groups and felt it helped immediate sales.

My daughter is a film major and videographer, and both of my son and daughter are in a band. My idea was to make something artsy, more like a music video. I wanted something that was an anti-ad; I wanted something entertaining. My kids (The Chambermaids) had a CD coming out, so I thought we could combine my book and one of their darker, moodier songs. Hopefully if the video didn't click for me it might click for them. I gave my daughter a vague description of the book, suggested three scenes, and let her take it from there. The actual shoots went fairly well, but things got difficult and tedious in the post-production phase. The voice-over didn't work out, so we decided to go with text. Bad idea. The video was done digitally and we couldn't get rid of the blurry text. Apparently this is a problem with Final Cut Pro. The online version is fine. It also looks good on television, but we were never able to completely eliminate the blur when viewing the DVD on a computer.

Many times I felt like saying forget it, this is taking too much time away from my writing and if it isn't perfect I don't want it. After weeks of headaches, the video was finished just days before the publishing house strategy meeting for my book. I sent five DVDs to my editor and she presented the video to the marketing department. They asked for 50 DVDs to go out to all their reps. The video is now online, and we will be making at least 300 DVDs to give to booksellers and package with ARCs.

This type of viral advertising relies heavily upon word of mouth, email and blog links. You tell two people, and they tell two people.... There is no way of knowing if my video will sell books or if very many people will bother to view it. My feeling is that it might help some, but it probably won't sell enough books to pay for the making of the video which ended up being a little over one-thousand dollars, roughly the cost of the conference I probably won't be going to this year. I won't know if the video had any impact on sales until the book comes out in September. I will report back at that time! I also feel this is a fad that will soon whimper and die, but I said the same thing about MTV.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

from the camera

while i recover from my trip, here are a few photos. thanks to all who posted while i was gone!

a B&B in gainesville, florida. it's shaped just like the house in psycho.

a cool little town of less than 700 people called micanopy, florida. i blasted through it on the way to the airport, but have to go back. it has a dark, decayed quality i loved. online it's called charming. okay, if you say so.

the square in ocala, florida