Wednesday, March 31, 2010

He Talks!

A few weeks ago, I did an interview for UPDATE ON, a Reston cable TV program. (Note: this is NOT my appearance yesterday on Virginia This Morning. If that goes on-line, I’ll give a shout out.)

Here it is, all 26 minutes.

A big thanks to Marcia McDevitt!

Update On March 2010 from Comcast Channel 28 on Vimeo.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hold Your Horses

I’m guest blogging today at Buried Under Books. The topic is patience. Click over to see why waiting is an essential skill for writers to master.

I’ll be there myself to comment on comments, but I might not arrive until later in the afternoon (patience!). That’s because I’ll be in Richmond on the Virginia This Morning show (WTVR CBS6) with another writer, Laura Bynum, and the Barenaked Ladies.

Hey, maybe they’ll let me sit in and jam with them!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Hey, They’re All the Same!

I got my author copies the other day.




Friday, March 26, 2010

Coming Attractions

Here’s what’s in store next week:

On Tuesday morning, March 30 (between 9 and 10 a.m.), I’ll be talking about DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD on Virginia This Morning (broadcast on the CBS6 affiliate (WTVR) in Richmond, VA). So set your TiVos, DVRs, PVRs, and VCRs (do people still use VCRs?) or just plain tune in!

Also on Tuesday, I’ll be guest blogging on Lelia Taylor’s Buried Under Books. Stop by and see what I have to say about the importance of patience.

Thursday is the official release date for DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, and I’ll be blogging on InkSpot, coincidentally exactly one year after my very first blog entry. Happy Blogiversary to me!

And if you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of DIAMONDS, it is in stock at Amazon and Midnight Ink.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Future is Now

You’ve probably already seen this cute/clever/inspiring video clip about the Future of Publishing (from PenguinGroupUSA/Dorling Kindersley Books). In case you haven’t, though, it’s definitely worth two minutes and twenty-six seconds. Just make sure you watch the whole thing.

Click HERE.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Down the Hall, Then Right, Then Left

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a great event, the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. Lots of excellent writers, lots of excellent readers. Everywhere you looked—excellence.

Most of the time, I staffed the Mystery Writers of America – Mid-Atlantic Chapter table, answering questions from interested mystery lovers about the organization (contrary to a popular misconception, I was NOT threatening people with bodily harm unless they joined). It was a fun way to spend the day--making new friends and hanging out with mystery fans. The one panel I made it to was excellent (see? more excellence).

I met a ton of people: other writers (traditionally published, self published, not-quite-yet-published), readers, booksellers, festival Cliffordorganizers, and the guy who asked me where he could buy a sandwich. The luncheon featured Julia Spencer-Fleming, and a lady dressed up as a character out of a steampunk novel wandered the hallways passing out stuff (bookmarks, I think, although they could have been some type of steampunkish device). I even caught a glimpse of Clifford The Big Red Dog amidst a group of pint-sized fans. (Don't ask me how he signed books with such enormous paws.)

All in all, quite entertaining. And perhaps the best part was realizing what every participant had in common.

A love of books.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Get Help!

Today’s blog post is actually yesterday’s guest blog post here.

Thanks to all the Working Stiffs for hosting a stop on the Diamonds for the Dead World Blog Tour!

Blog Tour Logo


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thrills in the Big A

I’m not a (complete) shill for International Thriller Writers.

Yes, I am an ITW member.

Yes, I am one of the website editors for the ITW Debut Authors Pages.

Yes, I do think it's a great organization, with great members and a great mission.

Yes, I will be attending ThrillerFest.

No, I do not own any ThrillerFest t-shirts (yet).

So I'm not a complete shill.

Here's a slightly reworked "boilerplate" invitation to ThrillerFest, from me to you:

I’m going to be at ThrillerFest in July, and I’d love it if you joined me! I’ll appear on a panel (or I might be at the New Authors breakfast instead--not sure) and talk about writing, and it’d be fun to see you in the audience. We’ll have sessions every day and cocktail parties every night (included in your registration price). You can meet this year’s superstar headliners: Ken Follett, David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, Brad Meltzer, Linda Fairstein, and our first-ever “True Thriller” recipient, Mark Bowden, famed for his nonfiction Black Hawk Down. ThrillerFest is Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Register and reserve a hotel room (at a terrific rate for New York in the summer) by clicking on and following the quick-and-easy directions. I hope to see you there!

I really do hope to see you there!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Not My Cup of Tea

Happy Ides of March!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the "Ides of March" is a "mostly-fictional" "day" made "famous" by a "possibly-fictional" playwright writing about a "probably-not" fictional emperor of Rome (or Greece--history was never my strong suit).

I've already made my dislike of the classics known, and Shakespeare is no exception. In high school, I read some play about a crazy king (or queen, maybe) who kept washing his/her hands and then his/her kids jumped off a balcony. Oh, and there was something about a shrew. And witches. I never got into any of his other works or the Young Willy, Playwright Adventurer YA series or the Shakespeare SuperHero comic books or the Big Bad William action heroes complete with moving quills.

I like my reading to be accessible. I want to understand it without hauling out a thesaurus or dictionary every third word (and what's with all the thines, thous, and forsooths? Come on, Will, write in English!).

If I want to read a sentence five times to figure out what it means, I'll re-read my Thermodynamics textbook. At least that's supposed to be tedious.

I realize many people adore Shakespeare. They go to his plays, memorize all the lines from each production, see every movie adaptation, most of which star Cate Blanchett (or is it Kate Winslet?). I think the only movie I'd be interested in would be "Godzilla vs. Shakespeare."

And you know who I'd be rooting for.



Friday, March 12, 2010

The Tour Begins

Today is the first March stop of my DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD World Blog Tour. Please click through to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Mystery Writing Is Murder to see my thoughts on writing the first draft.

Thanks Elizabeth, for being brave enough to allow me to guest blog. I’ll try to be gentle with your readers!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DIAMONDS on Kindle

I don't own a Kindle.


I like paper books. Of course, I also like electronic gadgets. So it's not out of the realm of possibility that I'll get a Kindle, or a Nook, or an iPad, or some other ereader in the not-too-distant future.

But for now, I still sit squarely on the fence. (And yes, it does hurt a little.)

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about my book :)

I have good news:

DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD is available for the Kindle! (According to Amazon, if you pre-order it, the book will be "auto-delivered to your Kindle on April 1.")


Monday, March 8, 2010

Strangers (Reading) on a Train

PopTarts A thought hit me the other day, as I was balancing all the promoting and writing and blogging and tweeting activities that have completely taken over my waking hours.

Soon, strangers will be reading my book. Strangers who have paid their hard earned money to buy it and devoted their precious time to read it.

Strangers, as in people I don't know at all. (I'm not including those in the world of publishing--it's their job to read manuscripts. I'm talking about "regular" strangers.)

Of course, on some level, that's been my goal since I started writing. To get published and develop a readership beyond my family and small circle of friends. But I guess I never realized how weird that would feel. My words, my ideas, my stories being read--and judged, on some level--by people I don't know and won't ever meet. They won't have any history with me to color their opinions. No filtering lens of my personality to gaze through.

These strangers won't know, for instance, that I exercise and try to eat right when they read about my characters scarfing Pop-Tarts for breakfast. They won't know how honest I am when they read about my deceitful characters and their underhanded exploits.

All they will know about me is what they infer from my writing. I'll be judged solely on the words before them. Weird.

The next logical question is: what will these strangers think?

On one hand, I could say that I write my stories for me. But, being honest (and pragmatic), I'd also have to say I write for my readers-to-be. I want them to be entertained. I want them to be moved by my words.

I want readers to enjoy my writing.

(Side note: I've already gotten a little feedback. I've been fortunate that DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD has received a couple reviews, from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. And I guess I've been doubly fortunate that both reviews have been complimentary.)

In a few weeks, I'll start to get more feedback from strangers.

I sure hope they like my book.


(This entry is “simul-posted'” on InkSpot.)


Friday, March 5, 2010

Well-Read. Not.

I love "best-of" lists.

I never pass up a chance to see how I stack up. (Yes, I'm very competitive.)

So I checked out a few "Best Novels" lists to see how many I had read. Now, I've never been one to read a lot of "classic" books; therefore I didn't expect to do "well."

My expectations were fully met.

Some results:

Modern Library had two "100 Best" lists posted, “The Board's List and The Reader's List.” I've read seven on The Board's List and eighteen on The Reader's List (obviously a list of more "accessible" literature).

At, the "100 Best Book" list includes fiction and non-fiction. I've read nine.

College Board has compiled a list of "101 Great Books for College-Bound Readers." I've read eleven. (I wonder what this says about my chances for success in college.)

Of Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Novels," I've read six.

I've read 14 of "The Best 100 Novels." 

Here's a “100 Best Book” list from the National Education Association where I did a little better. I've read 35 of these. Figures, right?

I wonder what my lackluster "performance" says about me?

Full disclosure: the vast majority of the books I've read on these lists were assigned. Mandatory. No choice. Just Do It. Funny, I don't recall liking most of them, either.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What’s News?

It seems that every day brings another change to the publishing business. Whether it's an innovative book reader being announced, or the launch of a new--and, of course, revolutionary--business model, or (simply!) more corporate restructuring, there's always something going on.

It's tough to keep up with so much turmoil, but I try (hey, it beats writing!).

I get a lot of my information from three daily e-bulletins, delivered straight to my email box. Subscribe and find out what’s going on!

I also pick up bits and pieces of newsworthy items from Twitter (maybe that should be "twits and pieces"). Often, the tweets will include links to more in-depth sources. Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) is one of the newsier people to follow, especially for happenings in the world of mystery fiction.

Where do you get your industry news?


Monday, March 1, 2010

In Like a Lion, Out Like One of Those Flying Dragons From Avatar

In exactly one month, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD will be released.

I'd better get busy!

Here's some of what I've got on tap this month:

This weekend, I have two guest speaker gigs. They will serve as the "shakedown" presentations for the set of PowerPoint slides I've been working on.

In about two weeks, I tape an interview for a local cable TV program.

In about three weeks, I'm going to attend the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. I won't be on any panels; I'll just be sitting in on others' panels and meeting some great people.

I'll also be working on my World Blog Tour--scheduling and writing guest blogs--and I'll be planning and preparing for a host of other future promotional activities. And then I've got that little matter of writing the sequel to KILLER ROUTINE.

Organization and efficiency will be this month's "points of emphasis."

Unfortunately, I tend to work on a "don't drop any of the juggling balls" system for prioritizing tasks. In other words, I wait until the last possible moment to get something done, hoping to get it accomplished before it hits the floor with a splat.

I don't think that's going to work very well in the next few months. Too many balls in the air. Too many opportunities for some major splats.

How do you prioritize your tasks? Short of hiring an assistant, any suggestions?