Monday, February 28, 2011

Here We Go Again

Today I’m blogging at InkSpot about promoting a second book. Pop on over and add your two cents. Or more, if you’re feeling generous.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Hittin’ the Road

In case you missed it, yesterday I blogged at Kaye Barley’s Meanderings and Muses blog.

Click on over and say hi. Or whatever else is on your mind.

KR Blog Tour Logo


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Personal Classics

So many books, so little time. That’s why I rarely re-read a book—there are too many good ones out there, sirens calling my name, tempting me with the promise of a good time.

But these books, for whatever reason, managed to wheedle their way onto my TBR pile for second (or third) reads:

  • The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings
  • Ender’s Game
  • The Godwulf Manuscript
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Watchers
  • The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God
  • Jurassic Park

What about you? Do you have some favorite books you like to re-read? Why?


Monday, February 21, 2011

What Say You?

There was a discussion among some members of my group blog, InkSpot, about what kinds of posts blog readers wanted.

So that got me thinking. What kinds of posts do MY blog readers want more of?

Don’t be shy!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Thanks, Malice-Goers!

It seems that the life of a writer is mostly sitting around in your cave banging on the keyboard. However—fortunately—that mundane existence is sometimes livened up by very exciting events. Getting an agent, signing a book deal, seeing your cover for the first time, garnering a good review, finally holding your printed book in your grubby hands—these all qualify.

So does getting an award nomination.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD was nominated for the Agatha Award in the Best First Novel category.

I’m honored to have my name/book mentioned alongside the other four excellent Best First nominees: Avery Aames, Laura Alden, Amanda Flower, and Sasscer Hill.

I’m especially happy for Avery and Sasscer, two writing friends who got their start about the same time I did. (And yes, I’m very much looking forward to meeting Laura and Amanda, too!).

Congrats to them, and to all the nominees in the other categories as well!

The Agatha Awards honor the traditional mystery and are presented at the wonderful Malice Domestic convention, to be held April 29 – May 1 in Bethesda, MD. Here is a complete list of the nominations.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still Going

The Where’s Alan Book Giveaway Contest continues…


Yes, the lighting’s bad (it’s on a subway platform). Yes, that’s me standing next to the ad. Yes, you too can send in a picture of yourself standing near one of my ads and be entered to win a signed book!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Nice Doorstop

I finished reading Stephen King’s UNDER THE DOME last week. At more than 1000 pages, I was engrossed in the story, with the same cast of characters, for quite some time. Luckily, I enjoyed it.

But, after all that time invested, I wanted a really, really good ending. Unfortunately, I thought it fell a little short.

Without trying to give anything away, the book opens with a highly implausible event. So I guess I wasn’t that surprised to have an ending which bordered on a deus et machina. Although to be fair, after the precipitating event, I’m not sure how he could have wrapped things up without pulling something out of his nether regions.

Anyway, like I said, I enjoyed the book. But I would have enjoyed it more with a different ending.

What book have you read where the ending left you a little flat? Did that stop you from reading that author’s next book?


Friday, February 11, 2011

What’s a Chapbook, Anyway?

Last weekend, the AWP (The Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. It consisted of four days full of panels, meetings, and drinking (or so I heard).

I skipped the panels, meetings, and drinking, and went to the Bookfair instead. I didn’t count but there had to be close to a bazillion booths and table displays to check out. Being a “genre” writer, I never realized just how many literary journals, magazines, reviews, small presses, university presses, MFA programs, writing coops, and other related “literary” things existed.

I was astounded, to say the least.

It’s nice to know there are a ton of fresh and innovative publishers/publications out there, both in print and on-line, providing outlets for creative writing of all stripes.

Kinda made me wish I was more creative.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About Last Night

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the monthly MWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting. Our speaker was publishing attorney Daniel Steven and he talked about the protection of intellectual property rights, the ebook revolution, and piracy. (Incidentally, he was for, neutral, and against.)

A few things I came away with:

With regard to ebooks, Steven described publishing as being at the “beginning of an era, like the wild, wild west.” Much of the conflict between publishers and authors in the ebook arena comes from old laws/old contracts being applied against the new, digital world.

An example: For an older book, printed before ebooks even existed, there was no assignment of digital rights (obviously). So now, publishers claim that they own the rights and authors, of course, claim that they do. It’s a murky area.

He advised writers that, right now, if you had to choose just one format to e-publish in, pick the Kindle.

Discussing piracy, Steven said that in a lot of cases, there’s not much a writer can do, short of legal action. And even then, because many of the more organized pirate sites are off-shore, it’s almost impossible to get anything done about it. He suggested that pricing your work at a certain (lower) price point might make pirating “not worth the effort or risk.”

All in all, a very enlightening evening.

For more valuable information about publishing law, check out Daniel Steven’s website.


Monday, February 7, 2011

YAC (Yet Another Contest)

I’m giving away a few books through Goodreads. Just click through to enter the drawing (and while you’re there, add KILLER ROUTINE to your list of books to-be-read). Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Killer Routine (A Last Laff Mystery) by Alan Orloff

Killer Routine

by Alan Orloff

Giveaway ends March 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Friday, February 4, 2011

Open Wide

You might be surprised to learn that I do not have any tattoos or piercings on my body. I have a deep aversion to “permanent”  “alterations” that affect my flesh and bones. (Yes, I know that piercing holes can close up and that you can get tattoos removed. But I don’t even like “semi” “permanent” “alterations.”)

I don’t like stuff you can’t change. I do not like permanent things.

As a kid, I shied away from permanent markers. I never wanted anything to go on my permanent record. And I know I dressed like a wrinkled mess, never having the courage to wear permanent press.

So I guess it’s not shocking to reveal that I don’t like going to the dentist. All that drilling and filling and yanking and clanking is permanent. (Other reasons include extreme discomfort and pain and the taste of Novocain.)

Unfortunately, that’s where I am/was this morning. It’s been at least 10 or 12 years since I’ve needed any dental work (besides a cleaning). I brush, I floss, I eat right, I whisper sweet—but not sugary—nothings to my molars. Despite my best efforts, though, I need some work done.

The worst part? I’ll have to carry around those metal/ceramic pieces in my mouth for the rest of my life. I’ll be forever altered, and that bums me out.

What does this have to do with writing?

Well, once a book gets published in print, it’s “permanent.” Can’t be altered. Sure, you can change it in future editions or in the e-book version, but each printed book is permanent.

That’s why, as a writer, you need to make your story as good as you possibly can. Sometimes, there are no second chances.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Zip It!

Today, I’m blogging on InkSpot about that nagging, nefarious voice in the back of my head. Pop on over and join the fray fun!