Friday, February 20, 2015

Me and Harlan Ellison

I am humbled- and awed today by something I discovered by accident.

While looking up my story collection The Big Book of Genre Stories, on Kobo, I saw the "also boughts".

I am placed on the same page as works by Harlan Ellison.

The Harlan Ellison. The writer with more awards than any other writer- and unless you're aware, you've not heard of him. One of the giants, the classics.

Which tells you something about being a successful, working writer for 50 years. Yeah, 50.
He's the man. And I'm listed on the same page on a retail site.

I'm not worthy! Though I carry his torch. As he said of himself, comparing to Fritz Leiber- "I'm not fit to carry his pencil-case."

How often are you placed in the pantheon with your heroes? It makes me weep with joy.

I've actually met the man, who said nice things about me.

You probably haven't read him. You need to.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tough Year so Far

In the great novel Dune, by Frank Herbert, one of the quotes says:
"God made Arrakis to test the faithful"

It's a statement on how tough it is to survive on that desert planet, and how I think of New England- you've got to be hardy and half-crazy to live up here in winter. And this one is kicking our asses. A blizzard every weekend, with snow now piled so high you can't see anything, and cold to numb you into looking like Jack Nicholson's character at the end of The Shining movie.

But okay, cold and snow I can deal with. I grew up in Aroostook County, Maine, where the snow was piled up to the telephone pole wires. People sometimes think that's an exaggeration. It's not.

The snow canceled my first two book signings of the year. Sigh. Plus a couple of other things we were looking forward to. Ah well.

IBM just shed thousands of worker jobs. Mine being one of them.
So- soon to be no more health care, or able to pay for daughter's colleges. Thanks corporate America!

If this were one of the civilized countries, I'd at least have the health care and education covered, so all we'd have to deal with would be household expenses. But here in the 21st century, they can whisk your life away in a heartbeat, and it's just numbers on the sheets of corporate hacks who will never go hungry or without. Their boat starts leaking, so they punch more holes in the bottom. And hard-working American families can go suffer. It's a crappy system that ruins people for no good reason.

So, yeah, it's a tough year so far. Wouldn't be suprised to see a giant sandworm...

So as a writer, do you give up? Hell no! I'm hard at work on my 4th Zack Taylor novel (while re-releasing the first 3), as well as a clutch of stories. And I'm editing a number of other works for other writers. And judging stories for the Al Blanchard Award. And polishing my entry for the Flash Fiction Contest of the NH Writer's Project.

If you feel like buying one of my books to help out, it would be much appreciated. Or leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. Or if you know of a company that needs a good Software Technical Writer with a quarter-century of experience.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Noir at the Bar II- Postponed For Snow

Well, we live in New England, and must deal with what Nature gives us. And she's giving us a butt-ton more snow, a lot of it scheduled for our cool reading.

So now you have to wait until Spring to hear us- we're rescheduling when the snow is no longer a factor.

I'm going to be one of the featured crime and mystery writers reading from their works on Sunday, Feb 8th, for Noir at the Bar, at The Pour House, 907 Boylston Street, Boston, from 6-9.

Think I'll read Automat, my story in the Level Best Books New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave - since the story was submitted for a Derringer Award.

Come on down and hear good stories, have a pint, and hang out with the Kool Kids- like Chris Irvin, Steve Ulfelder, Bracken MacLeod and fellow member of the Sisters in Crime Connie Jonson Hambley (to see an interview with Connie, click here). 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Derringer Awards

I received notice that my story "Automat" in the collection Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave from Level Best Books, was submitted for consideration for a Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

So I checked it out, and sure enough, there it is on the list. Tres cool!

A little further down the list is also named the story Smudge, by Ray Daniel, in the same collection as mine. It's so good, it reminds you of a Lawrence Block story- very high praise.

Not too long ago, Ray released his debut novel Terminated, a cracking-good mystery thriller.
And we've interviewed him- to see that, click here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ann Everett Talkin' Twang

Howdy, y'all.
I'm currently featured on the blog of Texas writer Ann Everett, on her "Talkin' Twang" blog.

If you haven't yet discovered her, she's written a very funny book that I liked: Laid Out and Candle Lit.

Here's a quick description:
Tizzy Donovan is having a run of bad luck. A bakery delivery gone wrong. A bar fight with an old classmate. And the discovery of a dead body in the cemetery.
Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper’s luck isn’t much better. He’s finally gotten his first solo case, and it’s in the Podunk town of Brownsboro, Texas. But when he meets local beauty, Tizzy, he thinks his luck is about to change, until she becomes the prime suspect in his case!

She's written others, too, but that's a good start to her writing, full of Southern sass and good humor. Even damn Yankees will love it!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tess Gerritsen Book Launch at NEMBF

Last night were were treated to a talk at the New England Mobile Bookfair by superstar author Tess Gerritsen, in support of the launch of her latest book, Die Again. On a freezing weeknight, she filled the bookstore with people eager to hear her speak and buy her most recent publication.

This is only half the crowd- by showtime, all the seats were filled.

As always, she was witty, informative, entertaining, and extraordinarily gracious with fans.
A wonderful night, well worth the sub-zero trek. Check your local independent bookstore for great appearances, even if they can't match this one. The New England Mobile Bookfair sponsors many terrific author events (check out December's Gala Mystery Night).

Here's store owner Tom Lyons with the Guest of Honor
Tess with fellow best-seller Hank Phillippi Ryan
Other top thriller/mystery authors came out in support.
Here are Ray Daniel, Connie Johnson Hambley, and Daniel Palmer.
To see an interview with Ray, click here.
To see an interview with Connie, click here.
To see an interview with Daniel, you're tough out of luck for now.
Tom's friend Robin Stratton joins in the fun...
Daniel and Tom showing their Happy Face...
Tom being a little happier, after many sales

 And now for the fun part- signing and selling copies of Die Again.

Connie gets a copy

As does Daniel, who seems to be saying he left his wallet at home...

Hank does another scoop (sorry, couldn't resist)

Ray gets his copy and a smile
Tom does promo
And Connie, happy to see her book The Charity on the shelf- a thrill that never gets old!
And just so you know I'm a fan as well- here's a shot with Tess and I at Bouchercon 2013, in Albany.
And special thanks to superfans Robin and Steve, who once more showed up to support the bookstore and authors. They also bought many books at the Gala Mystery night in December.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Marketing Talk For Writers

Our Nashua group of the New Hampshire Writer's Project was recently treated to a useful talk on marketing for writers by author Connie Johnson Hambley. (see an interview with Connie here)
Incredible turnout for our first meeting of 2015, and all in our new digs at Fody's in Nashua.

Much needed, because authors are usually introverts, which makes it difficult to put on the extrovert hat and interface with the public.

Connie's a marketing whiz, and gave us great tips for increasing our author footprint in the digital world, and how to connect with readers, all of which helps readers find an author and buy more of their work.

Connie is shown making a point below. On her right is Ursula Wong, our moderator, who arranged the event.

Getting writers out on a freezing Monday night is a chore, but when you have a good group and a great speaker, they come to listen.


And still we had time for a usual part of our meetings, where people get to read a short piece of their writing. Here's Claudia, bravely getting up for the first time before the group.