Monday, November 28, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

The winner of the signed DEADLY CAMPAIGN ARC in the “leftover” ARC giveaway (held jointly here and on InkSpot) is



Congrats, Darcy, and thanks for playing!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Love of Leftovers

RoastTurkeyToday is the day before Thanksgiving, and my refrigerator is crammed to capacity. Some of the food is already prepared, some of it is still gobbling. By 8:00 tomorrow night, much of it will be gone, but if this year is like most years, there will be plenty of leftovers (cooking a 22 pound turkey for only 11 people might be a contributing factor).

In keeping with that spirit, today’s pre-feast blog will be another feast of sorts, a smorgasbord of random tidbits and writing leftovers. (Oh, don’t make that face, not without trying it. And keep an open mind, there might just be something here that won’t turn your stomach. Don’t worry, I’ve got an unopened bottle of Pepto-Bismol at the ready.)


I’d like to pass along three writing tips. Number one, put your butt in your chair and your fingers on the keyboard. And type! Number two, finish your first draft completely; this will prevent you from wasting too much time revising a section you’re going to cut anyway. And number three…well, number three is…um, let’s see…something to do with the EPA? No, no, um…Ooops. (And don’t even get me started on Libya. Or is that Liberia? Or Libania? Well, the Taliban are bad, wherever they are…)


Actually, it doesn’t take that long to amass 80,000 words in a manuscript, maybe a week or two. Of course, it takes another six months to arrange them all in the right order. Ba da bing.


And speaking of writing, my hat goes off to all the NaNoWriMo participants. Well done, even if you don’t hit your targets. Sometimes it’s the effort that counts. Besides, the real book will be written in NaDecEdMo (and NaJanEdMo, and NaFebEdMo and…).


Tis the season to give thanks, and I’m thankful for many things. One of the writing-related things I’m thankful for is the nice Library Journal review DEADLY CAMPAIGN received. The pullquote: “Orloff has put together another winning routine, and mystery buffs will enjoy the fresh venue of a comedy club, not to mention a soft-boiled amateur sleuth case.”


And since we started this blog talking about leftovers, let’s bring this disaster train wreck post full circle. I have a “leftover” ARC of DEADLY CAMPAIGN I’d like to give away. Its official release date is January 8, but one lucky commenter (between now and 6 pm Sunday night) will get his or her very own copy weeks before that!

To enter, just leave a comment describing your best use of leftover turkey. I’ll pick one winner at random (US residents only and, no offense to my fellow MInkers, but I think I’ll limit the giveway to non-InkSpot bloggers, However MInkers, please feel free to leave your leftover turkey ideas—I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get!).






Saturday, November 12, 2011

Your Creative Juices Will Thank You

When I made my first attempts at writing fiction, I was clueless. About how to write, about how to format my writing, about what possible markets existed. I knew how to fire up Microsoft WORD, but I was pretty much clueless about everything else.

Luckily, I realized how clueless I was and did something about it. I took an adult education class to see if I really liked writing (I did). Then I began taking workshops to learn more about the craft (and business) of writing.

That’s how I ended up at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD (I blogged about my experience here). I’m quoted on their website:

“Attending workshops at The Writer’s Center was—without a doubt—the biggest factor in my improvement as a writer.”

And it’s true!

So you can imagine how thrilled I am to be able to come back to The Writer’s Center as a WORKSHOP LEADER! (see, all caps? THRILLED!)

This winter, I’ll be leading an 8-week workshop called, Writing the Mystery Novel: Introduction. The workshop will begin on Saturday, January 21 (from 10 am to 12:30 pm) and run through March 17 (no workshop on March 3).

Here’s the description:

If you’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel but didn’t know where to start, this workshop is for you. We’ll discuss writing fundamentals (voice, character, plot, setting, etc.) and their application to the mystery. We’ll examine characteristics of the many subgenres and learn about mystery-specific conventions and pitfalls such as TSTL (too-stupid-to-live) syndrome, macguffins, red herrings, killer twists, wacky sidekicks, and smooth clue dropping, among others. Sessions will include instruction and writing exercises, with an emphasis on giving and receiving critiques of participants’ work.

If you’re an aspiring mystery writer living in the Washington, DC area, I’d love to see you in the workshop. I guarantee we’ll have some fun and learn a few things, too.

And if this particular workshop doesn’t float your boat, check out the other workshop listings. I’m sure you’ll find one that will excite you and get those creative juices flowing!

(If you have any questions about the workshop, feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an email directly. Or thru Facebook or Twitter or telegram or…)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two-Month Warning

In exactly two months, the second book in the Last Laff series, DEADLY CAMPAIGN, will be released (that’s January 8, 2012, for all you calendar-phobes). (I guess it’s also fitting that I blog about this on Election Day!)

The cover:



The cover-flap description:

A new Last Laff Mystery from Agatha Award-nominated author Alan Orloff

Comedy club owner and occasional performer Channing Hayes thought the comedy biz was tough, but it's a stroll in the park compared to politics. When he and his business partner Artie attend a congressional campaign event for their friend Thomas Lee’s nephew, masked thugs storm in and break up Lee's restaurant with baseball bats. The candidate's people insist that the police not be involved, so Lee asks Channing to investigate. As Channing searches for answers, he finds himself plunged into a corrupt world of payoffs, gangs, illicit affairs, blackmail—and murder.


Snippets from the LIBRARY JOURNAL review (the whole thing can be seen here):

“Professional comedian Channing Hayes (Killer Routine) goes amateur detective in his rousing encore performance.”


“Orloff has put together another winning routine, and mystery buffs will enjoy the fresh venue of a comedy club, not to mention a soft-boiled amateur sleuth case.”


And a blurb:

Deadly Campaign has it all—political intrigue, family warfare and, best of all, a hero. If the line between comedy and tragedy is indeed thin, then Alan Orloff is a master tightrope walker.”

—P.J. Parrish, New York Times bestselling author of The Killing Song


DEADLY CAMPAIGN is available for pre-order! At Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookseller through Indibound.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And They Are Easy to Wrap


According to my calendar, it’s November (not quite sure how that happened, but it might have something to do with last month being October). When November arrives, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. And when I starting thinking about the holidays, I think about cakes pies cookies brownies presents.

And when I think about presents, I think about books (among other things).

As a kid, I’d frequently get books as gifts. For my birthday, for Hanukah, for Arbor Day, even for my Bar Mitzvah (and let me tell you, no 13-year-old wants to get a copy of The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Trust me.).

Most of the books were cool. I remember one great book, The Book of Answers, that had (surprise!) answers to a bunch of very perplexing questions. (I recently revisited that book and discovered that some of the answers were complete hogwash, but I guess that’s a topic for another blog). Every year I got a world almanac, and I spent hours and hours poring over all the statistics: populations of foreign countries, exchange rates of foreign currencies, GNP per capita (okay, I was a little geeky). I also got golf books, football books, baseball books, basketball books, tennis books (anyone see a pattern?), and, yes, even a few novels here and there.

I also got socks for presents, and let me tell you, books were way better.

Now that I’m an adult, I still like to give and receive books as gifts. How about you, do books make it onto your gift lists? And since we’re talking gifts, how about ereaders? Are they a must-have item this year? What say you, people?

(This entry has been “simul-posted” on InkSpot)