Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Spinetingler is Out!

The Famous Author is in a dither today, having just found out the new issue of Spinetingler is up and live at BSC Review, its new online home. Why? Does he have a story in this new issue?

Dudes, TFA is The Editor. He picked all the stories. He worked with some writers to make their story clearer. He read through hundreds of submissions to find these 12 stories, including new work by Anthony Rainone, Damien Seaman, and writers seeing print for the first time. Crime, horror, sci-fi -- it's all here, each story designed to run electric current up your backbone.

"Working with Spinetingler's boss, Sandra Ruttan, is a pure pleasure," TFA said this morning. "The lady has more savvy than a Google search."

Check out the new issue when you can. Besides the short stories, you'll find interviews with authors, new book reviews, and even a lengthy excerpt of THE BIG O by Declan Burke.

Special thanks to Damon Caporaso and Jay Tomio of BSC Review, who finance the operation and make it possible.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hathaway Wins Sasher Award

And the winner of Deadly Ink's 2009 David G. Sasher, Sr. Award for best mystery published in 2008 is Robin Hathaway. The third Dr. Jo Banks mystery, Sleight of Hand won the prize against tough competition, including recent releases from Jane Cleland and Rosemary Harris.

Hathaway won the St. Martins/Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel in 1997 and the 1998 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She divides her time between New York City and Philadelphia.

Here's the synopsis on Robin's winning book: Dr. Jo Banks is well settled in her rather unusual life as one of the few doctors in the New Jersey fields, her office in a motor inn run by a pair of friendly, elderly Jersey-ites. But New York City is where she grew up, and there are times when she thinks back to those days with her father.

One day, as she is driving home from her rounds at the hospital in the nearby town, she hears a familiar sound coming from a barn. It is the hum of an out-of-date printing press, a brand her father used. On an impulse, Jo leaves her motorcycle in the road and walks down to the barn housing the machine.

But the printer is hardly welcoming. While she is trying to talk to him, he catches his hand in the press, and Jo bursts into action. Although she removes the screws from the roller that is clamping the man’s fingers and offers to drive him to the hospital, he refuses to go and insists she treat him in his home.

The strange episode leads to Jo’s calling daily to attend to the man’s injury. She learns that he’s living with his daughter—a grown woman who possesses the mind of a child—that they are from New York, and that his wife has mysteriously disappeared. The printer is roughly grateful for Jo’s care, but he has much on his mind, and he will not leave his house. Jo begins to suspect he is connected to a recent local murder.

Big Congrats, Robin. You're one of the nicest mystery writers we've ever met.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Live from Deadly Ink #1

SATURDAY, 7 p.m. -- Ok, actually, I'm in the trunk of The Famous Author's Toyota. But I am in the parking lot of the Parsippany Sheraton, home to New Jersey's biggest and best mystery convention, Deadly Ink, and earlier today TFA brought me inside for his two panels. So I am definitely able to offer on-the scene reporting. It's just a little dark in here. I'll keep this issue brief.

On TFA's morning panel, Jane Cleland wore a blue silk jacket.

On the afternoon panel, Rosemary Harris had a bad cold, and the only person who said anything funny was moderator Jeff Cohen. TFA and Markowitz bombed.

NEWS ALERT: Rosemary's next book is called DEAD HEAD.

Right now, they're all eating dinner at the big banquet. At least that's where TFA said he was going when he slammed the trunk lid. I wouldn't bet on it. He's been acting weird lately.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Murder Visits Parsippany

The 2009 Deadly Ink mystery convention for fans and writers takes place this weekend at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel in -- where else -- Parsippany, NJ.

Mystery enthusiasts, including me and The Famous Author, will honor LINCOLN CHILD, award-winning author of UTOPIA, DEATH MATCH, DEEP STORM, and TERMINAL FREEZE, and co-author with Douglas Preston of RELIC, RELIQUARY, and THE ICE LIMIT, as Guest of Honor. Toastmaster is JEFF COHEN, author of AS DOG IS MY WITHNESS, a FAREWELL TO LEGS, FOR WHOM THE MINIVAN ROLLS, IT HAPPENED ONE KNIFE, AND SOME LIKE IT HOT BUTTERED.

Other authors scheduled as panelists and speakers are: Kate Gallison, Roberta Rogow, Jack Getze, E. J. Rand, Cheryl Solimini, Steve Rigolosi, Robin Hathaway, KB Inglee, Ilene Schneider, Dennis Tafoya, Liz Zelvin, Renee Gardner, Elena Santangelo, B. K. Stevens, Maggie Barbieri, Evelyn David, and Rosemary Goodwin.

Careful readers of this space will remember TFA promised to blog live about making Jeff Cohen laugh. Or trying to. Mr. Cohen seemed eager to take up the challenge. As of this date, however, TFA is sounding like a chicken. Cluck, cluck. I'm not sure. Cluck, cluck.

Monday, June 22, 2009

John Ceepak is Back!

The fifth installment of the John Ceepak/Danny Boyle crime solving team drops on bookstore tables all over America tomorrow. Mystery writer Chris Grabenstein's much-loved series has fans panting, including our boss, The Famous Author. What will John and Danny find when they dig beneath the gloss of Atlantic City?

Publishers Weekly said, "Grabenstein's appealing fifth John Ceepak mystery (after 2008's Hell Hole) finds ultra-straight-arrow cop Ceepak and his laid-back partner, Danny Boyle, on leave in Atlantic City. Soon after a former girlfriend of Boyle's, the nanny for a smarmy stage magician's children, approaches Boyle for advice, she winds up dead in a bizarre s&m ritual before she can explain the problem."

S&M? Oh, boy.

"The local police deputize the two Sea Haven, N.J., cops as more corpses pile up. Ceepak and Boyle aren't too surprised that everyone is lying in a murder case involving professional illusionists with nasty secrets. Grabenstein has a good eye for the grit under a glitzy setting and a good ear for character-defining accents, including Boyle's wry narrative voice. In less skillful hands, Ceepak might come across as a mere hybrid of Sherlock Holmes and Dudley Do-Right, but the author succeeds in making his hero's earnest devotion to a rigid code of behavior both believable and moving."

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

You can pre-order MIND SCRAMBLER right here on Amazon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who is This?

A whole bunch of New Jersey-based crime writers had their picture taken last weekend, but only one of them still looks young enough to be a college student. Only one is a scorpio who teaches eighth grade. Only one brags about hanging out in Clifton.

Who is this man? Name him in the comment section and you will win a prize of your choice, including BIG MONEY T-shirts and autographed books by Dennis Lehane and others. We have a whole collection The Famous Author has swiped from signing tables at mystery conventions all over America. One lucky winner, or maybe more.

Come on. Who is this?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Three Short Stories

Nearly two years ago, The Famous Author was asked by Sandra Ruttan to guest edit the Winter 2008 issue of Spinetingler Magazine -- that is, pick out some stories from her wonderfully bulging submission box. TFA agreed, had more fun than he expected, and signed on for a permanent tour. In celebration of Spinetingler's upcoming relaunch as part of BSC Review, TFA hijacked my blog today to link you up to that first TFA-edited issue, and in particular, three stories even I enjoyed reading.

A Simple Kindness by Chris F. Holm features a hero who wonders where he went wrong. Could the problem have started here: ”I’d seen her picking absently at the hem of her skirt...”

Damien Seaman is having his fiction published a lot these days, and Coming Up Roses shows us why. An undercurrent of tension and violence shimmers like the alien in Predator.

Last Writer Standing is Kentucky-resident Gene Sittenfeld’s first published fiction. The thrills jump out from behind an imaginative framework of humor.

Thanks to Sandra Ruttan, Spinetingler, and the wonderful writers whose work is linked above.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Redhead of the Week a Homecoming Queen

Joanna García, who'll be 30 in August, is best known for her portrayal of Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on The Country Western channel's sitcom, Reba, and her leading roles on Welcome to the Captain and Privileged. We picked her for her hot Cuban heritage.

Born in Tampa, Florida, Joanna was the homecoming queen at Florida's Tampa Catholic High School, where she was discovered by Nickelodeon and starred for two seasons as Samantha on Are You Afraid of the Dark? She had to commute from Florida to Montreal, Canada, where the show was filmed. She then attended Florida State University for a year before dropping out to pursuing acting full-time.

On the big screen, García was seen in the comedy spoof Not Another Teen Movie. She speaks Spanish fluently, currently resides in Los Angeles, and volunteers teaching English as a second language.

In 2008, after dating for two years, García became engaged to Trace Ayala, Justin Timberlake's personal assistant and childhood friend.

Thanks to Joanna, Tampa, Wikipedia, and Roman White, Boy Genius.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Bookshow, 90 NJ Authors

This Sunday, June 14th, from 1 to 5pm, more than ninety New Jersey authors and other artists visit the Paramus Public Library, at 116 East Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652. BooksNJ2009 brings together writers and readers, illustrators and poets. People like Mary Jane Clark, Jeffrey Cohen, Meredith Cole, and some TV guy named Doocy, all of them up close and personal, talking about their books and their craft.

The Famous Author will probably be talking about his hangover.

There will be readings, panels, crafts for kids, and storytelling. The event sponsors, including the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Berkeley College, the Paramus Public Library, the New Jersey State Library, and New York Life, worked hard to make the event free and open to everyone.

Naturally, The Famous Author himself will be there. I don't know yet if he's bringing me along, but if you ask TFA what's inside his black computer case, he must give you a free T-shirt.

Here's an alphabetical list of authors with their pictures. I've swiped a few of my favorites.

Come on out to see us. Bring the kids, or like Mr. Cohen, your photographer's dog.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Meat for this Redhead of the Week

This week's flame is Bryce Dallas Howard, 28, the daughter of Hollywood actor-director Ron Howard. Bryce is best known for her film roles in Manderlay, Terminator Salvation, Spider-Man 3, and two M. Night Shyamalan-directed films, The Village and Lady in the Water.

Her godfather is actor Henry Winkler, who co-starred on Happy Days with her father. Wonder if, like The Fonz, Bryce loves to wear black leather?

Raised in Greenwich, CT, where she graduated from Greenwich Country Day School, Bryce performed as Miss Adelaide in the musical Guys and Dolls, and in a variety show singing Leiber and Stoller's "I Am A Woman." She later attended Byram Hills High School in Armonk, NY, where she performed in a number of shows and graduated in 1999.

She appeared in several of her father's films as an extra before her feature film début, which came in director Alan Brown's 2004 drama, Book of Love. Her breakthrough came in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, a role for which she was cast without having to audition. Shyamalan had seen her in a Broadway show.

Bryce met Seth Gabe at New York University and dated him for five years before they were married in 2006. The couple currently live in Hollywood with their two-year-old son, and probably enjoy first-run screenings of Pop's films. Thanks to Joaquin Phoenix, and a documentary on animal cruelty called Earthlings, Bryce is a vegetarian.

Thanks to Bryce, Opie, and Wikipedia

Sunday, June 7, 2009

People Are Talking

I know The Famous Author wants to sneak in, hear what people are saying, but you know it's ME these people are going to be talking about. Austin Carr, the morally-challenged stockbroker. If you're in the Boston area, show up and see if you can spot us.

Event Type: Book Club
Date: 6/10/2009
Start Time: 1:30 PM

The newest addition to The Quincy (MA) Public Library's family of book clubs, Unshelved, will meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 1:30 PM. Book selections are made 3-6 months in advance. Anyone interested in conversations about books is welcome to attend.

Location: Friends of the Library Conference Room

Other Information: Big Money by Jack Getze

Three women want him dead.... Left in charge of a one-officer Jersey shore investment firm, suspended stockbroker Austin Carr becomes the prize in a war between two crime crews and a powerful state investigator. Trying to stay alive while mobsters, beautiful cops, and a hit-man called “the Creeper” chase him, Carr stumbles onto the secret lives of three desperate women. One becomes a victim; one a murderer, and Carr is next on her victim list.

Contact: Katie Kraushaar
Contact Number: 217-223-1309 ext 502
Quincy Public Library Book Club Website

Friday, June 5, 2009

How to Find Your Writer's Voice

You know a great literary "voice" when you hear it: David Sedaris' humorous cynicism. Elmore Leonard's weary, smart-mouthed dialogue. Nick Hornby's simple yet imaginative descriptions. It's the kind of writing you should aspire to, right? Well...not quite. Each of these authors found success in part by developing their own unique voice: a writing style that helped define -- and throw the spotlight on -- their work.

Now Les Edgerton shows you how to develop a voice of your own, one that rises above the literary din because of its individuality, not in spite of it! Inside, he provides guidelines, advice and dozens of exercises for recognizing and developing a natural style that will make your characters, stories and dialogue better and more memorable. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction or poetry, Finding Your Voice is a must for your personal library. Let's face it -- editors, agents and readers all want to read something fresh and new. By finding your voice, you'll be giving them exactly what they want!

The Famous Author and I met Les this week at Writers Retreat Workshop, a place where writers -- young and old, published and unpublished -- gather every spring to take classes, share manuscripts, and, with Les anyway, drink Jack Daniels. The man has stories, people, and they ain't all about writing. Wow! Buy this man a drink someday. You will be entertained and informed. Just don't call him by his real name, Leslie.

In case you can't afford the book, here's what Les told us all last night: You want to find your own voice? Sit down and write a scene, talking to your best friend. He knows you. He knows the people you're telling the story about. You don't have to explain anything, or worse, give backstory. Your friend already knows it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Redhead of the Week Beats Death

Jean Grey is a comic book superheroine appearing in books published by Marvel Comics. She has been known under the aliases Marvel Girl and Phoenix, and is best known as one of five original members of the X-Men. As with all cartoon ladies, her female form tends to match the yearnings of teenage boys. I've grown up a little, but Jean is still fun to look at.

Jean, a mutant born with telepathic and telekinetic powers, first saw her powers manifested when her childhood friend was hit by a car. She is a caring, nurturing figure, but she also must deal with being an Omega-level mutant and the physical manifestation of the cosmic Phoenix Force. She faces death several times in the history of the series, first in the classic "Dark Phoenix Saga," but due to her connection with the Phoenix Force, she, as her namesake implies, rises from death.

Phoenix is an important figure in the lives of her husband Cyclops; Professor X, who is like a father and mentor to her; Wolverine who is a very good friend and, at several points, a potential love interest; Storm, who is her best friend and a sister-like figure; her daughter Rachel Summers; her son X-Man; and stepson Cable.

Jean is present for much of the X-Men's history, and she is featured in all three X-Men animated series and several video games. Famke Janssen portrays Jean in the X-Men films.

Thanks to Marvel Comics and Wikipedia.