Friday, February 26, 2010

New Post on Hey, Dead Guy

Check out my latest post on Hey, There's A Dead Guy In The Living Room where I discuss why no one can do everything.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recently Read

Back by popular demand, I decided to finish out the week with a few reading recommendations:

THE BLONDE by Duane Swierczynski had me at the opening line: "I poisoned your drink." The book starts at an airport bar when Jack, an unexpecting newsman hears those four words from the blond next to him. The book chronicles the 24-hours after, complete with over-the-top twists, unexpected turns, and pulse-pounding suspense. Told with fresh, cool that fans of Elmore Leonard will appreciate, THE BLONDE will suck you in and won't let you go until the very end.

BOCA MOURNINGS by Steve Forman is a light funny read told in the style of Carl Hiaasen. Although Jews and Baby Boomers will appreciate the writing style and dialogue more than others, P.I. Eddie Perlmutter is a memorable character who can be enjoyed by all. The aging detective sets up shop in a retirement community in Boca Raton. He thought his new life would be full of sunbathing and golf, but he quickly learns that even paradise isn't without its crime...

If you like humorous mysteries set in tropical locations, you can also try HEMINGWAY DEADLIGHTS by Mike Atkinson. This mystery series features Earnest Hemingway as an amateur sleuth. The next installment, HEMINGWAY CUTTHROAT, comes out in June, so you have a couple months to catch up on the first.

Next on my list is BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott. If you haven't read the queen of Noir, I highly recommend all her books. Haven't gotten to this one yet, but when I saw that it was nominated for an Edgar, I was reminded how much I enjoy her work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Dead Guy Post

Check out my latest post on Hey, There's A Dead Guy In The Living Room where I discuss why books are so much better than movies.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Psych Up

Whenever I'm out for a run or competing in a swim meet, music always pumps me up and gets me in the mood. If I'm sore, tired, or struggling, there are a few songs that will come through the speakers, instantly psych me up and help me power through.

I find the same can be true for writing. There are mornings where you wake up, sit down at the computer and, you're just not feeling it. Words don't seem to come, ideas don't flow, and your word count goal seems impossible to reach. For me, music doesn't inspire me to write, but there are a few things that can get the creative juices flowing.

Reading. What better way to inspire a novel than to read a great one? Reading a few chapters from one of your favorite books can remind you why you wanted to write in the first place and inspire you to keep moving forward. Nonfiction can be helpful too, especially writing guides. ON WRITING by Stephen King and WRITE FASTER, WRITE BETTER are two that always motivate me.

Getting Out. Most writing is done inside, alone, in a chair. You sit at a computer and make things up. Getting out of the house and exploring your neighborhood can open your mind, reconnect with the real world, and allow you to bring authenticity to the fictional world of your novel. Even if you're not writing about the same city you live in, hearing people talk and interact can be enough to freshen your dialogue and watching the traffic or the trees can help add texture to your scene.

Change The Scene. Do you always work at the computer at your desk? Try sitting in a chair with a paper and pen or heading to a nearby coffee shop. Changing the circumstances can initiate a change in attitude and motivate you to write.

Pep Talk. Every writer should have another writer they can talk to. Spouses and friends are okay, but if they're not writers, they won't completely understand where you're coming from. I think of the writer friend like an AA sponsor: they're there to encourage you and help you move forward while making sure you don't slip. Sometimes calling your writing buddy and talking about your story can be a world of motivation to keep moving forward.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Hey Dead Guy Post

Head over to Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room and check out my post about "Promoting Don'ts".

Friday, February 05, 2010

New Hey Dead Guy Post

Check out my latest post at Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room where I discuss the importance of correctly branding.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Oscars and The Edgars

Every year, I make an effort to see every movie nominated for an Academy award. Not just best picture, but every movie with a Best Actor/Actress nomination, Best Screenplay, even a few of the foreign films when they come to town. So you can see I was overwhelmed when they announced not five, but ten best picture nominations. I figured Up In the Air, Precious, and Inglorious Bastards would be nominated, but The Blind Side? Up?

After listening to NPR commentary and reading the buzz around the blogosphere, I learned that the big reason behind the ten nominations is to include more mainstream movies that people who don't live near an art house theater or get every movie in their local Cineplex, would see.

Without going into the politics and saying whether I agree with their decision or not, this reasoning intrigued me. Before, the movies nominated were more obscure, often unavailable to the small-town crowd. They wanted to nominate movies available to everyone. Last year, more people saw THE DARK NIGHT than any of the pictures nominated for best film and therefore, in hindsight, they felt DARK NIGHT should have been one of the nominees.

Looking at the Edgar list this year, I see only a couple of small presses and those are in the Paperback Original and Nonfiction categories. None of the Best Novel and Best First Novel nominees are from independent publishers. In the past there have been a couple (SOUL PATCH by Reed Farrel Coleman, HEAD GAMES by Craig McDonald) but this year, zip.

So both prestigious awards have decided mainstream is the way to go, that nominees should be available to anyone who lives by a cinema or a Barnes and Noble. In both instances, I believe the awards should go to the best of the best, not the best of the most readily available. But the Oscars expanded their list to ten nominees. The Edgars are keeping theirs at six, which means in order to include a book by a big publisher, someone from a small publisher is getting pushed out.

All of this year's nominees are talented authors who deserve the honor and recognition. Like the Oscars, I attempt to read all the Edgar nominees, and I can tell you all of them are great books. But aren't there also some brilliant books put out by smaller houses that deserve to be on that list? And were they not nominated because they weren't mainstream enough? Did the judges hold certain prejudices towards small presses? Or were all books considered equally and nominated solely on their merit and the best books just happen to be from big publishers?

No matter the reasons behind the selection process, I believe these prestigious awards should go to the best movies and books of this year, regardless of availability. Of course, the term "best" is subjective, but I feel that's more true for movies than mystery novels. Good writing is good writing, regardless of publisher, and it's hard for me to believe that the best writing of 2010 all came out of big houses.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

They Have Questions, I Have Answers

For the month of February, I'll be answering questions on the ITW Debut Authors Mentor Forum. If you have questions about publicity, promotion and marketing that you've just been dying to ask, sign up and post on the forum. You'll have an answer within a day!