Sunday, December 31, 2006


My publishing house, Penguin Group, is doing something interesting. They now have a website similar to As far as I know, individual readers have never been able to purchase directly from the publisher before. Penguin even put my book trailer on their site, which is pretty cool. And yes, they call them trailers. (Wonder if they've received a cease and desist letter?)

Penguin Group

my books


Saturday, December 30, 2006

three links

fascinating post here:


thanks to booksquare for the link.

The beautiful, charming, and funny-as-hell Julia Buckley interviewed me for Mysterious Musings. Here you can read her unusual questions, and my attempt at humor:

mysterious musings

thanks, julia!

be sure to check out the archives -- she's interviewed a ton of people!

big pimpin'

i said i wouldn't do it. i hate those myspaces pages that take forever to load. now i've done it. pimped my page.

anne's myspace

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

bill cameron, i'm your biggest fan

i'm a fan of Bill Cameron's and I've been anticipating his debut novel LOST DOG for several months. now i can say I've read an ARC and loved it. below is my honest opinion of the book.

LOST DOG by Bill Cameron is a beautifully written and masterful work of character-driven crime fiction. One of the most fascinating and compelling main characters I've read in a long time. A bad guy real enough to smell. A plot that fits together like a puzzle.

I was starving for a personal story. Give me real people. Give me a story with truth. As soon as I started LOST DOG my heart began to beat faster. This was the book I'd been craving.

Bill Cameron manages to deftly strip away the distance. Not only does he give us a knock-out plot, he gives us real people in real settings. He gives us characters we care about, characters we know and want to know. And like real life, the darkest moments often contain humor. I laughed out loud several times.

LOST DOG is a heart-stopping, tightly-woven debut by a remarkable new crime-fiction writer.

Thank you, Bill Cameron.

Anne Frasier

more about LOST DOG:

Peter McKrall is at a crossroads -- out of work, fighting a klepto habit, and trying to figure out his next move. Life takes an unexpected turn when a search for his niece's stuffed dog leads him to something else entirely: a bullet-riddled corpse. Talking to reporters lands Peter on the local news, which turns out to be a dangerous spotlight. And now Darla, the troubled daughter of the victim, is reaching out to him -- but can she be trusted? When a second murder takes place and evidence is planted in his trash, the cops dredge up Peter's painful history. The only ray of sunshine in this harrowing nightmare is Ruby Jane, whose warm smile melts the winter chill.

An unwitting player in a bizarre chain of events, Peter has no idea that the deranged killer is after him - until he takes a shot at Ruby Jane.

- + - + -

Set against the sodden backdrop of Portland, Oregon, lost dog tells of the intersection of one man's struggle against and another's embrace of powerful and self-destructive impulses

coming April 2007 from Midnight Ink

about Bill


when bad reviews are good

this might be my best bad review to date. the reviewer claims to have read "2 or 3" of my other books, but was unprepared for the violence in Pale Immortal. i don't think this book was as graphic as the others, but i do realize one person can be totally fine with severed heads and necrophilia, but not fine with drinking blood.

Praise for Pale Immortal

"I went as far as tearing the book up and throwing it in the trash so no one else could read it."

amazon reviewer

i wish she'd made a video of that violent outrage so i could have put it on youtube. i think it would have made a nice promotional tool.
i wonder if anyone's done a parody of an outraged reader reading a page, then destroying the book. it's hard to tear up a book, so that could have been pretty funny. kind of a misery thing.

wonder if i should do a contest? with a fairly big prize? oh, this could be fun.... maybe a gift certificate to amazon.
that would be funny, but a cash prize would probably hold more incentive.

Print on demand and the LONG TAIL

very interesting and insightful guest post by Stephen Blackmoore over at
In For Questioning.

if i weren't so stuffed i'd jump in.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

1/2 cup vodka
1 - 3 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1 teaspoon cardamom

At least twenty-four hours before serving, put above ingredients in container with lid. Shake well, then shake occasionally throughout day.

2 liters of wine. Sangria works well, but any sweet, fruity wine will do.
1/2 cup sugar (more or less, to taste)
Vodka mixture, with cloves and cinnamon sticks strained out.

Put everything in a large pan. Heat well, but don't boil.

Serve with raisins and sliced almonds. These should be put in individual cups before adding about 1/2 cup hot liquid.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

and the winner of the tarot reading is...

S.W. Vaughn


UPDATE: Madame drew two more names and added two more readings:

madame sosostris

alex adams


Friday, December 22, 2006

thanks, graham!!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


graham powell is the man behind the aggregator in the sidebar. he came up with this wonderful concept about a year ago, and the impact has been astounding. i can't imagine blogging without it.

graham, thanks for keeping us connected and in touch!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


a friend of mine was having trouble getting the attention of agents, and wondered if i'd read his manuscript and let him know what i thought.

don't start looking around. this friend is not somebody who blogs, so i doubt he'll see this post. If he does, i don't think he'll mind. his backstory: he's been writing several years, has completed a few manuscripts, and has had short stories published in well-known anthologies. so he's been writing seriously for a long time.

i put the ms down at page 90.

at that point i was still waiting for the story to start. he was doing something i used to do and still do -- taking detours that fail to move the story forward. every scene has to push the story. it can't be enough that it reveals character or backstory. it still has to push the story forward at the same time. i'm no writing teacher, so i usually stay away from the nuts and bolts of writing, but i felt compelled to shout one word - PACING. never lose track of the main plot. don't take detours. don't get distracted by a scene that might be fun to write, but isn't pushing the story forward. don't keep us in the dark too long or we will walk away. you have to constantly ask yourself: what is the purpose of this scene? what does it accomplish? if the answer is constantly that it reveals more character or tells backstory -- that's a warning sign right there. you can briefly step out of what's going on now, but you have to be quick about it and you can't do it very often.

this writer was also inserting scenes that were supposed to be suspenseful, but were just confusing. TELL THE STORY. Don't be afraid to tell the story. i have to remind myself of this TELL THE STORY business all the time because i find i want to cling to the heart of the story and save it for later.

we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

i just spotted a bat in my attic.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The lifespan of a blog

I'm thinking a lot of blogs have a lifespan of about a year and a half. Mine has been a bit stale lately. It's December, but even before that it was seeming a bit on the blah side. I've thought about guest bloggers. About passing my blog to somebody else for a month or a week, but I'm not sure injecting something new into a blog will help, because I'm guessing it's following a natural arc.

So what's next?

I'm starting a new side project. It'll take group participation in order for it to work, and it's not something that will hold interest for very long. I think it will be fun for a month, maybe two. When we're done, it will be something for people to look at and hopefully revisit.

In Memory of Books

Anyway, I need help before the official launch. (Can a blog even be launched?) I'm looking for very specific photos. I'd like to have at least 10 to start.

Send me your images.
These images can come with text or without, fiction or non-fiction. Maximum of three sentences, please. and i'm not talking cormac mccarthy sentences.

I'm looking for intimate images of one person with a book. If somebody sends me something cool outside the guidelines I will probably change my mind, but the photo absolutely must have a book.

If you have an infant, I have an idea for a shot I think would be nice.

EDIT: I thought it would be nice to have a baby in the frame with an adult hand holding a book. Part of book and hand in corner foreground, baby in the background. So the story and focus is the baby and the book.

Feel free to send color, but the images will be posted in black-and-white or sepia.
This is an art project, so do keep in mind things like viewpoint, setting, mood. It can definitely be staged. Photoshopping is fine. I'm not necessarily looking for reality, but real is good too. photos will be credited and you'll get a link in the sidebar. or maybe just a link below the photo. haven't decided. depends on how it works visually. you can also participate anonymously.

Send photos to the email address in my profile. Any and all suggestions appreciated!

Monday, December 18, 2006


the following is something i wrote for a magazine. i don't think they're running it, so i decided to post it here.


Nine years ago things were going great with my writing career when I decided to visit a psychic who'd just opened a little shop downtown. Let's go see her. Won't that be fun? Would I make any bestseller lists? USA Today? Maybe even the New York Times? The psychic did a combined tarot and intuitive reading, informing me I would soon come upon rough times. I would lose my job, but after a period of hardship things would turn around and be better than they were before. I told her she had to be wrong, my career was fine. (I'd just received an unexpected and large royalty check. Things were good. And what kind of psychic gives such bad news?)

Weeks passed and I began to relax. Then I got the call. I'd been dumped by my publishing house. Had the psychic really been able to read something in the cards? Or had she gotten lucky? Was it just a coincidence?

I went on a quest for a deck of tarot cards. I lived in a small town and could only stir up one set -- the Dragon Tarot. I've seen more attractive cards, but I bought them and over the years we've bonded. I guess I felt if I read them on a daily basis there would be no more surprises. I also think I subconsciously felt I could somehow control the uncontrollable.

At some point my luck turned (as the psychic said it would, but such are the ups and downs of a writer's life), and I put the cards away until last winter when I attended a writers' meeting and heard about using tarot cards to help with plotting and characterization. The speaker had a list of techniques and spreads she used for various problems. If she gets stuck on a plot she will sometimes do a whole spread. For a character issue she will pull one card.

I was intrigued by the idea of writing with tarot cards, so back home I dug out my deck. Instead of using it to plot, I once again found myself fascinated by the otherworldly artwork and the cards' evocative darkness. Suddenly I was doing readings, this time online rather than face-to-face. I prefer the online format because I like the lack of distraction and the fact that I can take my time, usually spending a hour or two on readings, most of which are done for writers. Once the reading is complete, I post it on my Madame Sosostris site where everyone is welcome to visit the dark corners of his heart, where no coin is accepted for readings, and no card is ever reversed.

Are tarot cards a door to the past, the present, and the future?

I want to say no. Don't we really just take note of the valid statements and throw out the rest? But I can't ignore or deny readings that seem far too accurate to be simple coincidence. One explanation could be a collective unconsciousness. At one point in our long line of human history, we communicated without words. Is tarot a way to tap into an early method of communication? Or do some people somehow give off an imprint of the future? I've had life-altering premonitions that have come true, so I must acknowledge an unknown element. Not everything can be explained. And how many times can something be a coincidence before it's no longer a coincidence? Still, I'm more skeptic than believer.

For non-believers, what can tarot cards do?

Most tarot readers stress that the cards don't tell you what to do with your life, but they can help guide you. A strong spread can clarify personal problems. People find reassurance in a reading that zeroes in on their situation, analyzes it, points out the recipient's strengths, and brings encouragement in dealing with an unstable future. Some people use tarot cards as meditation and a discovery of the authentic self. The cards themselves tell the enduring story of a protagonist's journey complete with obstacles, lessons, hardships, love, family, and strength -- stories so universal that tarot has survived for centuries and has enjoyed a renewed popularity in the past two decades.

The mystery of history

A massive amount has been written about tarot, but most is speculation and theory. There are few clues and little evidence when it comes to the origins and various personas of tarot. The following appears to be true, although many statements are still argued.

1375 -- Regular playing cards enter Europe.
1420-1440 -- Tarot originates in northern Italy. At this time, the cards weren't used for divination but for a card game called triumph or trump, which is similar to bridge. The oldest existing hand-painted decks come from this period. Art historians have dated them to the reign of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan from 1412 to 1447.
1530 -- The Italian word tarocchi was used to distinguish tarot cards from trump or triumph cards. The French form of tarocchi is tarot.
1589 -- Records from a trial in Paris indicate tarot may have been used in witchcraft.
1781 --- Occult writers began discussing and writing about tarot.
1909 -- The Waite-Smith deck was created.
1909 -- Tarot cards first used by gypsies.

Whatever you believe, there's no denying that tarot has made a powerful and mysterious journey though history. It has touched cultures and subcultures and been spread upon the tables of gypsies and kings. It has left behind myth and secrecy and questions that will never be answered. Some might call that magic.

Saturday, December 23: a drawing for a madame sosostris reading.

leave a comment right here to let me know you're entering the drawing. this can also be given to someone else as a Christmas gift. Madame will come of out a stupor long enough to read the cards and post the reading on the Madame Sosostris blog. These readings -- which are a combination of cards and intuition, take Madame about two hours, so please don't enter the drawing unless you're really interested.

madame sosostris

Friday, December 15, 2006

a story from me to you

hey, i wrote a little christmas story for you guys over at
Muzzle Flash. the title is SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER, so you know it has to be sweet, right? come on. go read it. it'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

more crafts

just a few days ago on kelly parra's blog we were all griping about how we don't have time to do the things we used to do. i had no plans to even send cards this year, then i decided to send a few, but couldn't find any i liked. so i decided to make a couple, and a couple turned into about 30. i decorated the photos with glitter glue, then added text -- almost a little story.
here are a few of them. i really enjoyed this project, especially when i decided to add some weird text.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Concrete Maze

Steven Torres was nice enough to send me an ARC of THE CONCRETE MAZE which comes out July/August 2007. I'd read some of Steven's online fiction so I knew I'd like THE CONCRETE MAZE, but wow! This is a fantastic book. I loved the way it unfolded. Loved the characters. Thank you, Steven, for writing something beautiful and unique.

steven torres
crimetime cafe

The Concrete Maze by Steven Torres

Steven Torres writes honest fiction about real people, real pain, real fear, real life.

The CONCRETE MAZE is a sweet, soulful, heartache of a book. I loved it.

Anne Frasier

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

foreign sales

just got the polish copy of play dead. i think i posted the red cover of before i wake about a year ago.

foreign sales are nothing like selling the original manuscript. Normally the contract simply arrives in the mail. i sign it, get a check 6- 12 months later, followed by books 6 - 24 months after that. I never have any contact with the publishing house, and there is such a delay to everything that I usually forget about the sale until the check and books arrive. it's never a lot of money, and once two agents take a cut it's even less. but foreign sales are always a nice, welcome surprise.

the publishing house



By Bill Cameron


I absolutely love Bill's voice, so I was thrilled to find he was the first place winner of the cozy noir contest.
just finished reading his entry, and wow!!! It's wonderful. You can read it online at the above link, or you can download it from the spinetingler site.

Bill Cameron lives with his wife and poodle in the Portland, Oregon, where he also serves as staff to a charming, yet imperious cat. He is an eager traveler and avid bird-watcher, and likes to write near a window so he can meditate on whatever happens to fly by during intractable passages. LOST DOG, his first suspense novel, will be available from Midnight Ink Books in April 2007. Bill is a member of Killer Year, the most dangerous debut novelists of 2007. He is currently at work on his second novel.



By Angie Johnson-Schmit


I read angie's story last night and laughed out loud too many times to count. funny as hell.


Angie Johnson-Schmit currently lives in Arizona with her husband, two dogs and a turtle. A voice actress for Coyote Radio Theater, she spends too much time practicing silly voices.

Angie's joint

and speaking of angie.... i've been waiting for these T-shirts to be made available. woot! 15 bucks including shipping. that's a deal.

Day of the Dead shirts

i haven't read the other entries yet, but i'm sure they're fantastic too.

Monday, December 11, 2006


The winter issue of
Spinetingler is up.

Wow! This thing is packed with short stories and interviews.
188 pages of tingling goodness.

Lifted directly from Sandra Ruttan's

Sweet Victory: Spinetingler is Up

The new issue of Spinetingler proved to be a stubborn issue, but at last the Winter Issue is up, filled with all sorts of scrumptious goodies, just in time for your holiday indulging. There are stories by the likes of Bill Cameron, Stephen Allan, and Angie Johnson Schmit. But that's not all! There are also stories by Vincent H Keen - he of the annoying name that, if I were him, I would just shorten to VINCE KEEN, because that sounds tough and crime writery - and JD Rhoades. And there are others, but they aren't bloggers, which is the only reason I'm not doing a full-fledged list. You'll find all the goodies at the site.

But if that isn't enough to entice you already, try this on for size. I interview not one, not two, but three fantastic authors. And I recommend that you read them all, because names are mentioned and other authors interject on one of the interviews. In fact, I recommend starting with Jess Lourey, then Duane Swierczywonderboy and then Mark Billingham. When you read them, it will all make sense.

Still here? What the hell is wrong with you? Alright then. As though you needed any more enticement, Russel has made an appearance in this issue.

Go forth and spread the word. Seriously, it's another massive issue. The print version will be available for purchase next week.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

page 69 test

Marshal Zeringue at CAMPAIGN FOR THE AMERICAN READER recently invited me to participate in his page 69 test.

CAMPAIGN FOR THE AMERICAN READER is an independent initiative to encourage more readers to read more books.

"Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), recommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. It works. Rule One, then: browse powerfully and read page 69."

how to choose a novel

page 69 of Pale Immortal

page 69 ended up being a scene that's always made me cringe and yawn. i explain my feelings about it a bit more on the american reader blog. it's the one area of the book that really seemed forced. i wrote it with other characters, then removed them. then put them back. then removed them. i've even worried that readers would stop reading for good when they reached that point.

I really want to thank Marshal for the astounding amount of time and work he's put into this very cool project. He researches every book in-depth and includes numerous links and reviews. Thanks, Marshal!

Friday, December 08, 2006

more photos

this cheap digital camera does something weird in black and white that i like. intense depth-of-field and an almost painted quality to the foreground.

sometimes people steal stones, cover them with a layer of cement, and write a new name. these blog images aren't very good, so i just added about 40 or 50 pictures to my flickr account which you can find in the sidebar.

welcome to bonaventure cemetery

this is gracie. people claim to see her wandering the cemetery at night.

this is my favorite statue in bonaventure. fantastic artwork.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

on the lam in savannah

2:00 p.m. and i hadn't eaten since early morning. this might be the place to mention that i've always had a fairly severe hypoglycemic problem that's easy to control at home, but not so easy when i travel.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

hunger (never for me.)

nervousness and shakiness
dizziness or light-headedness
confusion (this is the biggest)
difficulty speaking (let's blame it on low blood sugar)
feeling anxious or weak

anyhoo, i spent a couple of hours walking all over bonaventure, and it was actually getting HOT. maybe 75, and i think i was dehydrated on top of no food. ended up finding a parking spot at factor's walk. this is the real tourist area of savannah that i usually avoid, but there are a lot of places to eat so i thought it would be fast. thought there has to be somewhere to get a quick sandwich and something to drink. menu by doors looked okay, but step inside and it's fancy waiters and tableclothes.

just shove a sandwich in my mouth. i don't care what it is.

i was about to pass out, so decided i had to go into one of the fancy joints. found one with a soup special. took about 15 minutes for the waiter to come even though the place was almost deserted. i ordered soup thinking it would be immediate. he comes back about 30 minutes later and says they are making it FROM SCRATCH. It will be a while, but it will be SO GOOD! then he dashes off before i can tell him to forget it. i wait another fifteen minutes. horrible headache by this time. and now i feel like i might both pass out and vomit. or pass out in my own vomit. he brought me a glass of tea, but tea on an empty stomach is not a good thing. last time i did that i ended up sharing a bench in chatham square with a homeless man while the ground tilted and the trees swirled above our heads. the poor guy got up and left and i sprawled out on my back in a puddle of cold sweat.

in these situations i normally avoid surgarloads like powerbars. now all i could think about was the powerbar i had in the car. just kept thinking about it. gotta get that powerbar somehow. gotta get food. need food.

i'm in a goddamn restaurant, and i'm trying to figure out how to get food.

if i could make it to the van i could eat the powerbar then take some tylenol. i wait maybe another 5 minutes, put 5 bucks on the table and leave. was there a total of 45 - 60 minutes. back at at the minivan, i managed to eat some of the powerbar, took the tylenol, and drove to parker's market and bought a turkey sandwich. i'm feeling somewhat normal now. not sure i've ever walked out AFTER ordering. it was kinda fun, and the place certainly deserved it. 5 bucks was too much to leave, but that's all i had.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

i'm not back

the wind chill was 10 below zero when i left minneapolis. arrived in savannah to darkness, light fog, and drizzle, then immediately got lost downtown. pulled into the crack kroger to check my map. guy pulls in next to me in a red and beaten Chevy S-10. window down. he's shouting at everybody who walks past. then he pulls out his crack pipe and starts taking hits.

yep, crack kroger. not just an urban legend.

yep, savannah.

dark, decayed, sad, and scary. oh, and beautiful.

supposed to be 60 and sunny today. don't know if i'll have internet, so i might not be online. or i might find a cafe so i can get MY fix.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

the manuscript was sent off a few days ago.

i'm taking a couple of days off.