Sunday, July 25, 2010

Famous Author Missing

The weather in New Jersey is so hot and humid, Mexico sounds good. But we have a hunch The Famous Author might have gone to San Diego. Tucked up against the Pacific Ocean, at the border with Mexico, San Diego enjoys 70-72 degree weather about 300 days a year. Go check out the current five-day forecast -- 70-72 in the middle of summer -- and the old wooden and glass bar at the Hotel del Coronado.

Then again, there's his favorite bartender Luis and all that great food in Puerto Vallarta. Yeah, he'd have to wear Number 80 suntan lotion in bed at night, but he'd probably just stay in the bar.

A dark horse in the "Where is TFA?" contest could be Miami Beach. He was in a dancing mood last week as his short story was posted on BEAT to a PULP.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hot Crime Fiction News

We thought we'd offer readers links to some of the places we've been hanging out this weekend. Lots of interesting stuff.

Over at Mystery Book News, Tess Gerritson writes about the source of her latest book and offers MBN readers an opportunity to win a copy. "The best plot ideas sometimes come from real life misadventures," writes Tess. "One such misadventure happened to me a few summers ago in upstate New York, when my husband and I were driving to a rustic bed and breakfast. Since we didn't know the area, we'd brought along our GPS and programmed it to take us in the most direct route possible."

A wrong turn forms the basis for Tess's new thriller, ICE COLD.

At David Cranmer's blog, Education of a Pulp Writer, author Timothy Hallinan talks about living in Thailand half the year, and how this influences his writing. Also, Tim talks about his unusual new thriller due next month. It's a thriller with a huge, separate backstory stuck in the middle. "And then we're in a new section of the book – the longest section by far – in which we go back twelve years to meet Rose as a 17-year-old village teenager named Kwan, which means “spirit,” but who is nicknamed “Stork” because of her extraordinary height," Tim tells Cranmer. "In one day, her entire world falls apart and she finds herself bound for Bangkok, in the company of an untrustworthy companion, to enter the world of the bars. And we stay with her for 45,000 words as she is transformed into the woman Poke met in the King's Castle Bar on Patpong. For I don't know how many pages, the nominal hero of the book isn't even in sight. It's like a novella squeezed between the beginning and the end of a thriller, because when Rose's interlude is over, the thriller is back with a bang."

Incredibly, The Famous Author has a short story published on the web this week at BEAT to a PULP.

And finally, here's a link to my favorite fiction webzine, Spinetingler. They just announced really big news: Mystery Writers of America will now consider short fiction published in Spinetingler for its annual Edgar awards.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Writer's Life

A friend of The Famous Author asked to guest blog anonymously today. We said okay, as long as it wasn't about his new book.

There’s a numbness on my skin this morning, a sheet of self-pity thick and gooey between me and the world. I haven’t been anywhere and I’m not going anywhere. Everything’s finished before it began. Nothing anyone says can help. Nothing.

Of course I feel this way every morning at 4 a.m. I’m a writer. Half the day I put words on paper, the other half I seek people to read them. The competition is worse than fierce. It’s mind-scrambling. There are twenty-four million people writing fiction today in the English-speaking world alone. There’s another twenty-million in Scandanavia.

I think my agent represents half.

But coffee helps, so I make a 10-cup pot and watch it brew. There’s nothing else to do. My world cannot continue until I change this mood, trust me. But with one cup down, mixed with lots of special ingredients, and another coming, this old boy is beginning to feel the sun. It’ll be up in another half an hour, too.

Pretty soon I’m tweaking yesterday’s copy and working on the new scene, advancing my plot, hiding character and secrets inside the dialogue, smiling to myself with excitement when a “what if” moment blossoms into wonderful.

I’m a writer. And nothing anyone says can help. Nothing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Skilled Storytelling on Display

The internet offers crime and mystery readers hundreds of free short stories, some okay, some great, some examples of the very best in storytelling. Here are links to places The Famous Author and I regularly check out, including Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, Thrillers, Chillers 'N' Killers, and Spinetingler.

And here's a link to a prize-winning story by Chris F. Holm called Seven Days of Rain. It's a story every short story writer should read. It has everything -- character, tension, and a masterful weave of past and present making both tales explode at the end. It's a wow.

Chris is well known for his short story skills. We bet the novel in progress is going to be a big winner, too.