Thursday, March 30, 2006

people doing stuff

going to bouchercon 2006?
want to shoot some people first?

kill the competition

flash fiction competition at fictional musings:

flash flurry contest

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

gutter snipe

i have another flash fiction up at flashing in the gutters.

i tried something new this time, so please check it out. this is a direction I've thought about taking in book-length fiction for 7 or 8 years.


flashing in the gutters

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the difference between fiction and nonfiction





2005 Banff Mountain Photography Competition

Best Photo -- Mountain Environment

this photo is amazing! i think it would make a fantastic book cover. it also happens to have been taken by my brother. :)


Saturday, March 25, 2006

reporting on the Once Upon a Crime event

this was the place to be.

first let me just say that i spent two hours laughing my ass off. a lot of funny stories going around, none of which i can repeat here.

i was in the final wave of writers. wished i'd gotten there earlier. too late, i spotted a few writers heading out the door. i'd really hoped to say hi to anthony neil smith, who, i must say, looked pretty dapper.

here are a few of the people there during my shift:

robert alexander -- check out his very cool book video for rasputin's daughter.

David Housewright -- edgar winner and all-around nice guy. His new book, PRETTY GIRL GONE, comes out in May. He also has a story in the upcoming TWIN CITIES NOIR.

Pat Dennis -- one of the funniest women in the twin cities.

Erin Hart -- wrote lake of sorrows, which i hear is amazing.

gary bush and chris everheart both have stories in the upcoming twin cities noir .

owners pat and gary did another great job. i don't know how they juggle everything, but they do and it all goes smoothly. yes, the place was packed but it wasn't shoulder to shoulder. did i mention that i laughed my ass off?

Once Upon A Crime -- 40 Minnesota writers sign books today

rerun for today:


Saturday, March 25th, 12-4:00

604 W. 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN


12:00 Carl Brookins, Mary Janice Davidson, Monica Ferris, William Fietzer, Lois Greiman, Ellen Hart, Dean Hovey, William Kent Krueger, Lori L. Lake

1:00 C.C. Canby, Laura Childs, KJ Erickson, Margaret Frazer, Pete Hautman, Priscilla Herbison, Mary Logue, Ida Swearingen, Deborah Woodworth

2:00 Harold Adams, Grant Blackwood, Gary Bush, Philip Donlay, Chris Everheart, Bob Gust, E. Kelly Keady, Quinton Skinner, Anthony Neil Smith

3:00 Robert Alexander, Pat Dennis, Anne Frasier, Brian Freeman, Michael Hachey, Erin Hart, Judith Koll Healey, David Housewright, Peter Rennebohm, R.D. Zimmerman

Friday, March 24, 2006

the one-sentence book description

I'm horrible at describing my own books. When someone asks what my book is about i get that deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. So I decided to write a one-sentence description of each book. Now if only I can memorize the descriptions!
What about you? Can you describe your book or short story in one sentence?

Here are mine:






Thursday, March 23, 2006

so bad it's good

this is one of my favorite bad reviews of Before I Wake.

This physcological thriller is a little too physcological for me. I got very tired of the split and fractured personalities of almost everyone in this book. Saying that, let me go on.

Arden Davis was a profiler for the FBI. She took part in an experiment to help her understand the serial killer's minds better. Many people dropped out but she persevered until she went home for Christmas and supposedly one of the serial killers she was learning about killed her family. It was his signature MO. When he was being executed he revealed that he DID NOT kill her family, he tells Nathan Fury in a note that he killed the rest but not them.

Nathan Fury is an FBI agent who started the program run by a brillant scientist, but he dropped out when he started thinking about killing as the ultimate high. He figures maybe Arden killed them while in some kind of trance taken over by the evil mind that has been fed into her brain. He finds her tending bar in Arizona and although they have had an affair she doesn't remember him at all. She had let the agency give her a brainwipe to remove her memories, unfortunately it hadn't quite worked, she still had vague memories and dreams, she couldn't trust herself that anything she remembered was real.

When Fury reveals what French(the serial killer) told him, he convinces her to come back to the lab so they can determine what happened. This woman is so physcotic you don't know what is going on. She is promiscuious, paranoid and so wrapped up in her own mind she can't function very well.

Even though the experiment was supposedly stopped, there are several more people at the saniterium. This was the biggest mess I have read in a long time. I did not like any of the characters and by the end I just wanted all of them dead, so I could stop reading. I just have to finish any book I start and this one was way over the top. Even at the end we have no idea how much of these killers she absorbed. Any one who would let a scientist mess with their brain like this deserves what he gets. Don't waste your TIME or money.

my shrinky dinky heart

what does weightlessness do to a person's heart?
in an attempt to find out scientists conducted a study, keeping test subjects in bed for 18 days. a person's heart doesn't have to work as hard when the body is lying down, and after this short amount of time it was found that the heart shriveled and lost mass.

so what about us!???
what about writers who sit all day long year after year? i often write in bed because during the winter it's sometimes too cold to sit with my feet on the floor. i thought it was a good thing to keep my feet elevated, but now i find i've been shriveling my heart.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Once Upon a Crime Write of Spring event in Minneapolis


Saturday, March 25th, 12-4:00

604 W. 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN


12:00 Carl Brookins, Mary Janice Davidson, Monica Ferris, William Fietzer, Lois Greiman, Ellen Hart, Dean Hovey, William Kent Krueger, Lori L. Lake

1:00 C.C. Canby, Laura Childs, KJ Erickson, Margaret Frazer, Pete Hautman, Priscilla Herbison, Mary Logue, Ida Swearingen, Deborah Woodworth

2:00 Harold Adams, Grant Blackwood, Gary Bush, Philip Donlay, Chris Everheart, Bob Gust, E. Kelly Keady, Quinton Skinner, Anthony Neil Smith

3:00 Robert Alexander, Pat Dennis, Anne Frasier, Brian Freeman, Michael Hachey, Erin Hart, Judith Koll Healey, David Housewright, Peter Rennebohm, R.D. Zimmerman

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Martyrs by Jason Evans

If you haven't read these chilling vignettes about X-ray martyrs by Jason Evans, then run, run, run to
The Clarity of Night right now.

The Martyrs

Friday, March 17, 2006

International Thriller Award Nominees

Setting: Left Coast Crime 2006, Bristol, UK

March 17, 2006
Co-presidents of ITW, Gayle Lynds and David Morrell, announce the nominees for the new International Thriller Awards.

The Thrillers

PANIC by Jeff Abbott (Dutton)
CONSENT TO KILL by Vince Flynn (Atria)
VELOCITY by Dean Koontz (Bantam)
THE PATRIOTS CLUB by Christopher Reich (Delacorte Press)
CITIZEN VINCE by Jess Walter (Regan Books)

IMPROBABLE by Adam Fawer (William Morrow)
THE COLOR OF LAW by Mark Gimenez (Doubleday)
COLD GRANITE by Stuart MacBride (St. Martin's Minotaur)
PAIN KILLER by Will Staeger (William Morrow)
BENEATH A PANAMANIAN MOON by David Terrenoire (Thomas Dunne Books)

SLEEPER CELL by Jeffrey Anderson (Berkley)
PRIDE RUNS DEEP by R. Cameron Cooke (Jove)
UPSIDE DOWN by John Ramsay Miller (Dell)
THE DYING HOUR by Rick Mofina (Pinnacle Books)
EXIT STRATEGY by Michael Wiecek (Jove)

MATCH POINT, screenplay by Woody Allen
SYRIANA, based on the book by Robert Baer, written by Stephen Gaghan
CACHE (Hidden), screenplay by Michael Haneke
OLDBOY, screenplay by Jo-yun Hwang, Chun-hyeong Lim, Joon-hyung Lim, and Chan-wook Park; story by Garon Tsuchiya
MUNICH, screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth; based on the book by George Jonas

congratulations to all of the nominees!


have you been FORBIDDEN?

there's a lot of that going on around here, and this is apparently the reason:

Read the following Status report from Blogger:
Thursday, March 16, 2006

The filer that we have been having trouble with in the last few days
failed again. Those blogs that are stored on the bad filer are
temporarily not available for publishing and viewing. We are working on
replacing the filer and restoring access to the blogs affected.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

new hope for Alzheimer's treatment

put my copyedited ms in the mail yesterday. my publisher just asked for a longer, more in-depth synopsis for the proposal i submitted last september. enough said about that, but excuse me while i roll my eyes. while taking a break from the synopsis i came across an interesting article. most families have been touched by Alzheimer's disease, and it sounds as if a treatment might be available in as little as three years.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a key cause of memory loss in mice which they say could lead to new treatments to prevent and possibly reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease in humans. The culprit is a rare form of a common brain protein. The discovery is expected to hasten the search for Alzheimer's drugs because it now gives scientists a specific brain substance to target. The finding is published in the latest edition of the journal, Nature.

MPR article

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

URL power and Douglas Preston update

proof that we aren't always shouting into a black hole.

Italy's two largest newspapers, Corriere della Sera (Milan) and La Repubblica (Rome) -- equivalent to the New York Times and the Washington Post -- printed prominent stories about the judicial harassment of the journalist Mario Spezi and Preston's interrogation.

the following is from Doug's letter to International Thriller Writers:

It is truly amazing to see the effect that a little flexing of literary muscle through ITW can achieve.

The stories are both very good. Among other things, those of you who blogged about the situation and all of you marvelous ITW folks got some good press (see farther below). Any further help you can give is very much appreciated.

I've translated the headlines and a few paragraphs from the articles and included the full articles later.

Corriere della Sera
Florentine Murders: Thriller writer indicted for perjury. His colleagues mobilize.
Monster Case: Duel Between DA and American Writer

Inside, a relevant paragraph says:

Now that he has returned to Maine, Preston has begun to tell the story of what happened to him on his recent trip to Italy. The story is making the rounds of the Internet, through the blogs of writers, critics, and intellectuals. It was republished by the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers, which reaches many hundreds of authors, and in that way came to the notice of the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

La Repubblica
Writer Accuses DA in New Book
Monster of Florence: Diplomatic Case between Italy and the USA

Rome--A new 'case' involving the Monster of Florence investigation: this time the risk is a diplomatic-judicial-literary tiff with the USA. Behind it all are the killings of the Monster of Florence (sixteen between 1968 and 1985) and the theory that a Satanic sect was responsible, which is currently being pursued by the D.A.'s office of Perugia. The protagonists: the journalist Mario Spezi and the American Douglas Preston, thriller author, against the D.A. of Perugia Giuliano Mignini. For several days now Senator Susan Collins, daily newspapers such as the Boston Globe, and important literary associations [that's ITW, folks!] have been working on behalf of Preston.

Your blogs and ITW's newsletter were directly responsible for generating these articles. And this is just the beginning.

Monday, March 13, 2006

to help speeding up, please access fallowing

advice for phishers: bait your hooks with spellcheck

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

belle and sebastian and the copyedit

i'm still deep in the copyedit. need to have it done early in the day tomorrow so i'll have time to make a copy, then get it to UPS. i have a ticket to see belle and sebastian tonight. i thought about selling it, but i don't think i will. not as crazy about belle and sebastian as i was years ago, but i still want to see them. i hope they play seymour stein.

Seymour stein - Ive been lonely
I caught a glimpse of someone's face
It was mine and I'd been crying

Half a world away
Ticket for a plane
Record company man
I won't be coming to dinner

My thoughts are far away
I'm working on that day
North country girl
I think she's going to stay

Promises of fame, promises of fortune
LA to new york - san francisco back to boston
Has he ever seen dundee?
Won't he hire a limousine?
Seymour send her back to me


I heard dinner went well
You liked chris's jacket
He reminded you of johnny
Before he went electronic

Seymour stein - sorry I missed you
Have a nice flight home
It's a good day for flying

the copyedit:

i've found two big things that were there from the very first draft.
three editors missed it.
one scene involves two guns. a little later there is only one gun. the other big problem involves DNA. not anything complex. I should have known better.

it's scary to get to this stage and find fairly big problems. i know there must be other things i've missed.

i wonder what a reader thinks about mistakes like this. if the book is really good, i would probably forgive the writer. if the book isn't that great, it would be another reason to check the writer off my list.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

more on the Book Trailer issue

Sheila from Circle of Seven Productions left a couple of comments on the old book trailer thread. It's in the February archives and i knew nobody would go back that far. i'm putting a link here so she can be heard -- she posted as anonymous, some of the last comments.

Book Trailer issue

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pale Immortal DVD

i'll bet y'all are getting tired of hearing about that thang.

I was going to continue the drawings once a week, but i'm too lazy.

give me your address and i'll email you a DVD.

first 10 people.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


the copyedited Pale Immortal arrived Friday and I've spent the day working on it. The copyeditor did an excellent job. I actually think I've had her before. the ms itself isn't as tight at this stage as I'd like to see it. That's mainly because the freelance editor put us in such a time crunch that there wasn't adequate time for me to go over the ms and tighten it the way I normally do. So I'm taking extra time at this stage hoping i can catch most things. I've found some scenes i'd love to go in and really rewrite, but it's too late now. that's a bit frustrating.

but anyway--

It seems that every copyeditor has a pet peeve or something that seems kind of strange that pops up throughout the edit. this one is her handling of numbers. If something like English 101 appears in dialogue, she's changed it to this:

English one-oh-one.

is that right?

i've never seen anything like that. anybody else know? Right? Wrong?

it looks very strange to me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

my backstory

When I first started writing I lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere in a county without a single stoplight. I didn't know anybody who read fiction let alone wrote anything more than a grocery list. Only flaky townies wasted time on stories that weren't real, and college was considered a silly indulgence. Completely clueless, I found publishing house addresses inside books and I sent complete manuscripts to these addresses. They would come back months later with the standard rejection letters. My favorite return was a torn package complete with boot print courtesy of UPS. There was no internet, and home computers were just making an appearance. And I had to walk five miles in two feet of snow to buy crack. Oops. Dropped into fiction mode for a second there.

I had an electric typewriter and a four-year plan. When that four years was up, I would stop. That was that.

Four years and four manuscripts later I hadn't yet sold -- but the rejection letters were getting more personal. Was it realistic for me to continue? I didn't want to stop, but what about my four-year plan? I worried that I was deluding myself.

I needed feedback. I needed to find someone familiar with the genre to read my stuff, someone other than my husband who was very encouraging with comments like: Well, yeah. It's just like all the rest of that crap.

I joined RWA and attended a chapter meeting sixty miles away in gasp -- a CITY. This was scary and huge because I rarely saw another human other than immediate family. These meetings were actually critique groups with several published writers in the bunch. I brought something to read to the first meeting. I wouldn't be returning. Read it and slink away, that was my forty-minute plan. When my turn came, I was shaking. I'm not a person who likes to speak in front of people, so to read something of my own in front of a group of 25 strangers scared the hell out of me. I was cold. I was sweating. But I had to find out. I had to know the truth.'
I read my ten pages. Several times people burst out laughing. They whooped and clapped. Hmm. This hadn't happened with the other readers. Is this good? (In retrospect, I think they were just really bored.) When the meeting was over, several people told me how much they'd liked what I'd read. Did I have an agent? Three of the published authors had the same New York agent. Did I want her name? They would call her. Tell her about me.

A few months later I sold my first book to Pocket Books. Two weeks later I got a call from Silhouette about a manuscript I'd submitted months earlier without an agent. They wanted to buy it and were offering a two-book contract.

I don't do critique groups anymore, but I'd desperately needed that feedback at that point in my career. And the published authors? One of them - Linda - hasn't written in probably ten years. (And much happier.) We're still good friends and get together a couple of times a year. The other two? One is a New York Times author, the third hasn't had a book out in quite a while. I kept the agent for a few years. She was charming, funny, but completely wrong for me. That was almost twenty years ago. I think my career would have gone a much different direction without her horrible guidance. She advised me to quit writing single title and do nothing but series romance. Completely insane, but I didn't know any better. She eventually talked the rest of the group into moving from single title to series - possibly because she didn't have to do much, or maybe she didn't like being the bad guy. There was no fighting with editors or negotiating series contracts at that time. I was able to avoid actually dumping her. She ended up leaving the agency to work on her own. I simply stayed, then found a new agent who has been my agent ever since.