Friday, December 21, 2007

Musical Inspiration #13 And A Holiday Break

I'm going dark for a few days to celebrity the holidays with family, but to keep in the Holiday spirit and as our morning musical selection...a special tune. I remember this one from when I was a kid. I remember for years trying to find a recording of it. It wasn't until sometime later I discovered a 45 of it at a record store.

But now, thanks to YouTube, you can both hear and see the performance.

When worlds collide...Bing Crosby and David Bowie...Little Drummer Boy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Musical Inspiration #12

Something for your Thursday morning. A little Black Eyed Peas:

Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Musical Inspiration #11

Today I thought I get things going with a song that's actually mentioned in THE CLEANER. For those of you who have read the book, this song is playing in the background auring the bar scene at in Ho Chi Minh City.

I love the video that goes with it, too. For your are the Gorillaz:

Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Gift for me #1 and #2

Here's gift number 1...a full color cover proof the the US release of THE DECEIVED:

It looks INCREDIBLE in person. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the title is actually embossed silver. Even my name is embossed (though in black, not silver). When set side-by-side with THE CLEANER, the spines are a beautifully matched set. Awesome job by the good folks at Bantam Dell.

Holiday Gift #2 for me...THE CLEANER is out in Australia!!! Waiting for my copy (cover is similar to the US cover but in red). I also hear is it selling VERY WELL. WOO-HOO!!!

(thanks to Grace Erb for taking the photo!)

Musical Inspiration #10

Courtesy of one of my favorite Los Angeles blogs.

Thirty years ago (apparently today) Declan MacManus, or as most of us know him Elvis Costello, performed on Saturday Night Live. He was supposed to play "Less Than Zero," but apparently he had other ideas which ended up getting him banned from SNL for twelve years.

Read more about the incident here

And now...Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cinematic Inspiration #3

So we've seen a clip that demonstrates tension:

Opening of TOUCH OF EVIL

And we've seen a clip that highlights character:

Lee J. Cobb's monologue from 12 ANGRY MEN

Today, we put them both together, and take a look at how character and suspense work hand-in-hand. Let's have a look at this absolutely fantastic scene between screen greats Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman. Is it safe?

(Note: the sound cuts out at the end, but still, you can see the power of this scene.)

Marathon Man

Musical Inspiration #9

I've always been fascinated by the voice of today's musical treat. There's emotion, strength, sadness wrapped in nearly every note. If I'm writing a particularly emotional scene, her music will definitely be in rotation on my iPod.

This morning, a week before Christmas Eve, I'd like to share with you the little sparrow...

Edith Piaf - La Vie en Rose

Learn more about Edith Piaf here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Musical Inspiration #8

(Sorry for the late start today...busy morning)

Since we went with one of my favorite musicians yesterday (David Bowie), today I thought we'd lighten it and go with the hilarious Bowie parody done by The Flight of the Conchords...

If you've never seen the HBO show The Flight of the Conchords you are seriously missing some brilliant writing and acting. Find in. Watch it.

In the meantime, I give you this snippet from Episode 6:

The Flight of the Conchords - Bowie's in Space

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cinematic Inspiration #2

Character is the base of any good story. Writers do it with descriptions and actions and dialog. Actors do it the same way minus the paper and ink (or computer screen and keyboard).

I give to you this afternoon one of the great monologues in film (and stage) history.

Lee J. Cobb in 12 Angry Men:

Musical Inspiration #7

Today, perhaps one of the coolest people on the planet, David Bowie. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert a few years ago, and it was one of the best shows I've ever attended.

Here's a live performance of one of my favorite songs:

David Bowie - Hereos

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Artistic Inspiration #1

One of my biggest dreams is to learn how to paint and draw. Unfortunately a big obsticle I'll have to surmount is the fact that I suck at drawing. But someday, I swear, I'm going to take a painting class and just go for it.

Sadly, because of that lack of drawing skill, I know I'll never be able to really paint the type of art I love. Mainly illustration based. I'm not just talking about cartoons or manga or animie, though there is some fantastic work being done in those realms I enjoy very much, but I'm also talking about illustration beyond the pages of a cartoon book or graphic novel.

Recently, I stumbled upon the art of James Jean.

You can check out his website here.

Browse through his illustrations (the links are on the left side on his home page.) There's an amazing quailty to what he does. I get lost in each image, and as I stare at them, I can't help but to start coming up with story ideas. Many, of course, are based directly on what I'm looking at, but many are not. These are the ideas freed in my mind by the images James has created.

It's not just James Jean's work that does this to me, other illustrators also do the same. But I have to say I am definitely drawn to works that have similar otherwordly qualities like his work.

He has a book out, too!

Process Recess 2: Portfolio
Consider that a hidden gift idea within this Inspiration. (Note to close friends, I do not own this book myself, but boy would I like a copy...hint, hint...)

Musical Inspiration #6

Music has a texture, a tone, a feel that can evoke strong emotions. Sometimes it doesn't even matter what the lyrics are, it's all about the passion and strength of the performance. I often listen to music when I write. Depending on the scene I'm working on, the more emotion the tune the better.

Let's start today off with one that always pulls me in. Haunting...beautiful,,,

Evanescence - My Immortal, Live at the David Letterman Show

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cinematic Inspiration #1

Let's look at building suspense. You tease your audience, you pull them along letting them know something is going to happen, you put your protagonist(s) in harms way...will they get caught in the action?...will they survive?...the anticipation...the tension...then finally the moment arrives...

Sure, hundreds, if not thousands, of people know how to build suspense...but it takes a real master to do it in a new and bold way...and in one take...

From 1958, the classic opening scene to TOUCH OF EVIL by master director Orson Welles:

More on TOUCH OF EVIL here

Musical Inspiration #5

Can't beat the classics...(the video and audio are just a bit out of sync, but who cares, it's Hendrix, baby!)

Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Gift Idea #2

Yes...another book. But a historical fiction piece this I couldn't put down when I read it. A story of Stalinist Russia...set in Moscow, pre-World War II...may I suggest The Archivist's Story.

Read more or even purchase a copy here.

From the book description on Amazon:

Moscow, 1939. In the recesses of the infamous Lubyanka prison, a young archivist is sent to authenticate an unsigned story confiscated from one of the many political prisoners there. The writer is Isaac Babel. The great author of Red Cavalry is spending his last days forbidden to write, his final manuscripts consigned to the archivist, Pavel Dubrov, who will ultimately be charged with destroying them. The emotional jolt of meeting Babel face-to-face leads to a reckless decision: he will save the last stories of the author he reveres, whatever the cost.

From the margins of history, Travis Holland has woven a tale of the greatest power. Pavel’s private act of courage in the face of a vast bureaucracy of evil invigorates a life that had lost its meaning, even as it guarantees his almost certain undoing. A story of suspense, courage, and unexpected avenues of grace, The Archivist’s Story is ultimately an enduring tribute to the written word.

Highly recommended.

* * *As is, and will continue to be, the rule, I make no money from any recommendations.* * *
~ ~ ~Well...unless I recommend my own book(s)...which somehow would seem wrong...but, who knows? I might do it anyway!~ ~ ~

Advertising Inspiration #1

Advertising? Inspirational? You bet. While there is a ton of advertising dreck out there, there are a few gems that are visually stimulating, clever, have great story, or any combination of these things.

From the Netherlands comes this highly entertaining ad...I have no idea what it's for, but it really doesn't matter...think of it as a great short story...

Musical Inspiration #4

Let's start the week off with a BANG...

Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance

Friday, December 07, 2007

Interactive Inspiration #1

Final post for today...a little (odd) fun for the week.


When you get there (and after you feel slightly creeped out) like on the directions link on the left.

DON'T FORGET... new short story!


Holiday Gift Idea #1

What better thing to start off with than with one of my favorite thrillers of the year...NO TIME FOR GOODBYE by Linwood Barclay. From the Amazon description:

The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family—mother, father, and brother—had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

From critically acclaimed author Linwood Barclay comes a new suspense thriller that strikes to the core of our most primal fear. What if you woke one day to find your entire life had changed? If everyone you loved had disappeared overnight without so much as a chance to ask why?

Cynthia and Terry Archer still live in Milford, Connecticut, not far from the old Bigge house on Hickory Street. With a solid marriage and a young daughter, the Archers seem on track for a successful future. But the questions raised by Cynthia’s past still haunt her, and her obsession to find the answers threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked for. For Cynthia, there can be no closure until she finds out why her family disappeared—and how they could have left her behind.

Terry thinks the segment on the popular TV crime-stopper program Deadline is a mistake. But his wife hopes that someone watching will have a lead to her missing family. Sure enough, it’s Cynthia who spots the strange car cruising the neighborhood, hears the untraceable phone calls, and discovers the ominous “gifts.” And as Cynthia’s nerves begin to unravel, no one’s innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time the first body is found, it’s clear that her past is more of a mystery than she ever imagined—or may ever survive.

Someone has returned to this Connecticut town to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And by the time Terry and Cynthia discover the killer’s shocking identity, it will be too late even for goodbye.

Read more or even buy it here.

Or visit Linwood's website

* * *As is, and will continue to be, the rule, I make no money from any recommendations.* * *
~ ~ ~Well...unless I recommend my own book(s)...which somehow would seem wrong...but, who knows? I might do it anyway!~ ~ ~

Musical Inspiration #3

A classic to get Friday started...

...and a lesson in just do it...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Musical Inspiration #2 - Who says we don't have the spirit in L.A.?

Eerily accurate....

News - Short Story

For those of you jones for the next Quinn story (THE DECEIVED due June 24th), SURPRISE! You don't have to wait that long.

I have a new short story entitled JUST ANOTHER JOB on Authorlinks' Celebwire, and it's a Quinn story. Check it out here, just scroll down until you see my mug or the cover of THE CLEANER.

UPDATE: The link works now. After you get to the download page, you'll see a rectangle button to the right that says DOWNLOAD STORY NOW. Click there, and you're set! If you're still having problems, try refreshing your page. That's worked for a few folks, too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Musical Inspiration #1

I've posted this video before, but I love the performance so much I have to do it again. KT Tunstall...notice at the beginning how she is records a couple of sounds (a guitar strum, a tamborine hit), then replays them basically becoming a one woman band. I love this performance. Always pull it up when I need a lift.


So my virtual silence (read the double meaning) over the last several months has been noticed by at least 2 of you. A combo of a lot going on outside the world of the Internet, and a bit of blog burn out (i.e., what am I going to write now.)

Well, I've finally got it figured out. This blog is entitle A Writer's Sphere, and, damn it, that's just what it is. My sphere. My world. What makes me tick.

I'm going to write and post whatever I feel like. I'm going to share things that inspire me, and help stir my own creativity. I'll post thoughts when I have something to share, and also some news about upcoming releases and signings and appearances and all that. I'll even have special post series...for instance, this month I'm going to also post gift ideas for you to consider this holiday season.

Also (as if that's not going to be enough), you'll be hearing more from me elsewhere than just here at the good old AWS after the new year. More on that later.

Without further ado, I'M BACK.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Virtual Appearance

I will be the guest this Sunday evening at THE WRITER'S CHATROOM from 7 to 9 pm East Coast Time. It's free and easy to get into to.

Oh yeah...did I mention some lucky chatroom participant will win a signed copy of THE CLEANER, but you have to be there to be eligible.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Art of Editing

We all know that a good editor is worth more than what they are probably being paid. Even if you are just doing rewrites, you know editing is a monumentally important part of the writing process, and you probably wrestle with whether you are doing a good job or not.

In the spirit of editing done well, I bring you THE AMATUER via YouTube. It's amazing. Be sure to read the credits at the end...specifically about his abilities:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Phil Hawley Does His Part for Starving Authors

It's been a couple months since Phil Hawley and I got together for coffee/dinner, something we've been trying to do at least once a month. But the last couple of months got away from each of us (Phil IS a busy doctor after all), so we weren't able to meet up until last Tuesday night.

I'm happy to report Phil is doing well and doing well for the world. After a leisurely talk outside at the famous Farmer's Market near CBS, I then forced him to take the three minute walk to the Barnes and Noble at The Grove shopping center next door. There I was again forced to used abusive (some might say almost torture-esque) techniques to convince him to pick up some of the latest books by friends of his and mine. And when I say pick up, I should note that Phil did attempt at first to walk out of the store without paying...shame, shame... A gently amount of guilt plus the sight of a large security guard roaming near the front door changed his mind.

Here's proof of his newest purchases:

(okay, the truth...Phil is the one who wanted to go to the bookstore. And while, yes, he did start to head for the door without paying, it was mainly because he missed the entrance to the check out line. I guess that's an age thing...)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Coming to A Bookstore Near You in 2008!

The second book in my Jonathan Quinn series is now listed on Amazon. Not due out until June 24th, so you still have a little while to wait...

But before then, another book is coming out that I contributed to. In January, on the 22nd, the KILLER YEAR anthology edited by Lee Child will hit stores.

We got a GREAT review from Publisher's Weekly. You'll have to scroll down a little to get to it...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

News and Interview

Two new countries have signed up to published versions of THE CLEANER! France and Estonia!

And, BOY, does my UK publisher have some great plans for the March release of TH CLEANER. Can't really say much yet, but if you happen to be taking the Tube in London around launch time, I'm sure you'll see a portion of what I mean. Here's my UK cover (click on image for larger view):

And finally...I have an interview up. (Not the long delays radio interview, no word on that yet). It's at Read it here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Fellow Killer Year Member Derek Nikitas' PYRES hits stores today! Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Radio Inteview UPDATE

As often happens on TV or Radio...I'm being re-scheduled for sometime next week. There's this crazy thing called the Emmys® that airs this weekend. Seems to be taking up a lot of air time.

I'll keep you posted with the new time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Radio Interview

If you have Sirius Radio or XM Radio, catch a live interview with me at approximately 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time on this Thursday (Sept 13th). I'll be on the "Yo On E!" show. That's Sirius Channel 107 and XM Channel 162.

If you're able to listen, leave a comment and let me know how you think it went.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Review at E! Online

Read it here...and no, I didn't pay anyone or ask anyone to do this...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Podcast #4 is finally up!

So we invited fellow author Bill Cameron to stop in and chat. And where did the conversation take us? Dead Hookers of course.

Listen to it here

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Busy Summer

Sorry haven't been around. And I'm not going to promise to be around that much in the near future either, but I'll give it a try. Things have been crazy what with the book coming out, Thrillerfest, a couple trips out of town, etc.

Wanted to share a few links to stuff you may have missed:

Took the Page 69 Test here:

Story in my old hometown paper (haven't lived there many, many years, so it was great that they ran this): The Daily Independent

A nice review on John Ling's Blog

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


If you're in the L.A. this evening and looking for something to do, I have an appearance this evening in the West L.A./Culver City area:

6:30 P.M.

Palms-Rancho Park Branch Los Angeles Public Library
2920 Overland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 840-2142

Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Bantam Dell Podcasts

Every week, Bantam Dell posts a podcast from one of their authors...this week it's my turn!

Here my podcast on "alternate stories" here!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Battles and Browne Podcast #3 is UP

Check it out here.
Or go to

Upcoming Events

Several signings and appearances in the coming weeks! Plus I'll be doing some drop in signings a bookstores throughout Southern California. Here are the confirmed events as of now:


1:00 P.M
Mysteries To Die For
2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

6:30 P.M.
Mystery Bookstore

1036-C Broxton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Partners & Crime

New York, NY


New York, NY

6:30 P.M.
Palms-Rancho Park Branch
Los Angeles Public Library

2920 Overland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 840-2142

Hope to see you at one of these events! I'll post more as they come up.

(Special thanks to Tasha Alexander for taking the above photo at a store in Chicago! THE CLEANER, right up front where you can find it!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



Hollywood, CA (PA) - A spokesman for the L.A. Sheriffs Department said this morning that Paris Hilton has been released from county jail after she begged and pleaded to be set free in time for the publication day of Jason Pinter's THE MARK and Brett Battles' THE CLEANER.

"I discovered a love for reading while I was in the slammer," Paris said, sporting her new, teardrop tattoo. "I made it through all of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, and had just begun digging into Barry Eisler's work when the chick in the next cell told me about the new books from Jason and Brett. Both sounded so good, I had to rush through Eisler so I'd be ready when they came out."

After being whisked away from the jailhouse, Paris was taken to the Borders on Beverly Blvd. Employees, having been forwarned about her arrival, were on hand after midnight waiting for her, and met her at her car with a copy of both novels conveniently stored in a snappy Borders' bag.

Paris is alledged to have said, "Put it on my tab."

To which the response was, "Ma'am, you don't have a tab at Borders."

But the problem was soon solved with a couple of loose twenties she found in the glove box.


Don't miss your chance to get THE MARK by Jason Pinter and THE CLEANER by Brett Battles.

Both novels available starting TODAY at BOOKSTORES EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

T-Minus One Day

Well, tomorrow is the big day. The North American release of THE CLEANER, and I can hardly believe it.

But before tomorrow arrives...a little housekeeping news for everyone.

Starting in about a week THE CLEANER will also be available in an audio version!

For those of you not in the U.S. and Canada, THE CLEANER will be coming to the following countries in the appropriate language in the coming months:

The United Kingdom

...and more on the way!

If you subscribe to THE NEW YORK TIMES or THE WALL STREET JOURNAL check them out tomorrow...Bantam Dell has done something very nice!

That's it for now. I'm going to try to spend the rest of the day not thinking about the release, but I'm sure that'll last about fifteen seconds.

Monday, June 18, 2007


A big THANK YOU to David Montgomery for making THE CLEANER Book of the Week at his Crime Fiction Blog!

Only 8 days until THE CLEANER hits the shelves!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

No Country For Old Men

It's always a good day when you run across the trailer for a new Coen Brothers film.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Podcast is UP

I know we said we'd put them up every other week...but we've decided to increase the frequencies (at least for as long as we can.) This week we talk about Essentials to building a strong foundation for being a writer.

Listen to it here.
Or go type in

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Favorite Books and Winner

And so ends the final ARC sweepstakes for THE CLEANER. We are t-minus 2 weeks until pub date, so if you didn't when you don't have long to wait until you can get your very own copy!

To enter this time, all participants had to list their favorite all time books. The list is below, but first the winners:

1. Liz
2. Lee
3. Don Anderson
4. Gerald So
5. John Ling

Congratulations to each of you, and thank you to everyone who participated.

Now here's a list of some really great titles!

1. MINE (Which I didn't mention previously): It's a moving target, but I'd have to say it's either THE HEART OF THE MATTER or THE QUIET AMERICAN both by Graham Greene



4. ROB (as in Gregory Browne): funny guy, Rob. Sadly, if that book existed I'm sure it would have sold well.


6. DON ANDERSON: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Kent Anderson (runner up WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell.)




10. JOHN LING: FIRST BLOOD by David Morrell


12. STACEY COCHRAN: THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway (runner up THE SHINING by Stephen King.)


And 2 late entry...the drawing was already completed by the time these came in...but they were still in time to get their favorite books listed:


15. CHRISTOPHER: THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Friday, June 08, 2007


I've unexpectedly come into possession of several more ARCs of THE CLEANER. And my surprise abundance is your chance for a free book. I'm going to give away five this time.

You read that right. FIVE.

But we're going to turn this one around fast. I'm setting the deadline for entries at 6 p.m. Monday June 11th...that's Pacific Standard Time.

This time I'm looking for your favorite book of all time - title and author. And if you feel up to it, let us know why. I'll pull the winners on Monday night and let you know on Tuesday. As always, previous winners, family and friends who already have a copy are encouraged to participate but are ineligible to win.

Let 'em rip!


Don't forget to listen in on the first of soon to be many podcasts from Robert Gregory Browne and myself. You'll find it at

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Battles and Browne Talk Writing

My good friend and fellow author Robert Gregory Browne and I have started something we hope a lot of you will enjoy. Every two weeks (and possibly more often as we get going), we will be posting podcasts about writing and the writing world. Sometimes we'll talk about the nuts and bolts, sometimes we'll interview other authors, and sometimes who knows. Should be a lot of fun.

And today, our very first podcast is up! You can hear it here at our new website Rob designed specifically for this -

This weeks episode is called Character is King. You'll also notice a link on the main page where you can email us questions. We'll be answering as many as we can during upcoming podcasts. So go check it out and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In Today's Mail

Two things of note in this picture...1) I received a copy of the actual hardcover edition of THE CLEANER today. Needless to say it is very cool. Still seems a little unreal, though. I'm feeling very out of body. And 2) I really need a haircut.

Less than a month to release day! (June 26th) And for those of you in the L.A. on July 7th, mark your calendar. I'll be doing a signings at Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks at 1:00 p.m. and then a big one that night with friends and family in Westwood at The Mystery Bookstore at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Publisher's Weekly Reviews THE CLEANER

Just came out this week. Wanted to share...

"Displaying an enviable gift for pacing and action, Battles’s debut novel is a page-turner that may remind some readers of the cult TV spy series Alias..."

Read the full review here (down the page a little)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Winner(s)!!! And the list

So...since this is my last give away of an ARC of THE CLEANER, I've decided not to give away just one copy, not two, not even three...BUT FOUR ARCs. So we have FOUR winners! Congratulations to:

Steve G
Jeff Shelby
Angela/scifichick's the list of books the entries generated!

THE SONG IS YOU by Megan Abbott

A GAME OF PLEASURE by Barbara Satow

VERTICAL COFFIN by Stephen J. Cannell

THE SHAPE OF SNAKES by Minette Walters

GOD'S SPY by Juan Gomez-Jurado



SCENT OF SHADOWS by Vicki Pettersson

THE HINDI-BINDI CLUB by Monica Pradhan

THE CONCRETE MAZE by Steven Torres

THE SENSE OF PAPER by Taylor Holden

THE BOOK OF NAMES by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori

A THREAD OF GRACE by Mary Doria Russell

THE ROSSETTI LETTER by Christi Phillips

RACHEL'S HOLIDAY by Marian Keyes

LISEY'S STORY by Stephen King

Thanks to everyone who participated and help to contribute to this list! A lot of good stuff here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Only 2 Days Left to Win!

Sweepstakes ends Thursday night at 9 p.m. Pacific Time. I'll be pulling the winner then, and will post the name on Friday. So hurry up and get your entries in.

Enter Here!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


In case you missed the announcement on Monday, this is the last contest for an advance reader copy of THE CLEANER...

...check it out the details here!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Final Chance to Win an ARC of THE CLEANER

Here's my last contest for an ARC of THE CLEANER. (I hope to give away a hardcover before the official release date, but no promises.) To enter let's make it interesting. In the comments section let me know the name of the book that most recently surprised you. By this I mean a book you didn't expect to be as good as it was, something that gripped you more than you would have guess when you first picked it up. Give us the author, and a quick description of why it had this effect on you. Don't give away any spoilers. I hate spoilers.

Here's an example:

GROTESQUE by Natsuo Kirino
I wasn't really sure what I was expecting from this book. Granted, I had heard good things. But when I picked it up to read I kind of expected it to be one of those books you read, enjoy, then quickly move on to the next one. Not even close. The story was like water going down a drain spinning you closer and closer to the center but not taking the straight route. Each time it took me around the drain there was something new and unexpected.

See, not so hard. Your turn! Doesn't have to be a thriller or suspense novel either. Any novel. Reading's good, but even better when you cross out of your comfort zone.

Contest ends at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Coast Time Thursday, May 24th.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

As If There Weren't Already Enough Reasons to Go

ThrillerFest  goes video!
Please click on the link to watch our video.
And then click here to sign up

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


So in what's become a mini-tradition, I purchased Jeff Shelby's latest book (in this case WICKED BREAK at the L.A. Times Festival of Books and had him sign it.

I actually began reading it while I was still at the festival, and finished it today. I have to say, Jeff has done it again. I love his style, and I've thoroughly enjoyed both of his books. Noah Braddock is a PI who'd probably rather be surfing most days. But when he puts his mind to work, he definitely doesn't go at it holding anything back. And it was nice to see he even seemed to grow up a little the latest installment.

Great job, Jeff. And for everyone else, a big thumbs up for me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

L.A. TImes Festival of Books in Pictures

Spent all Saturday on the campus of UCLA at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Tons of people - readers and authors alike! But no reason to tell you about it...let me show you....

No crowds yet...still about an hour from official opening time. But they're coming!

Setting up at the Mysterious Galaxy booth

Book TV

Everywhere books!

Robert Gregory Browne at his first of four signings for the day

Best T-shirt of the day

Nathan Walpow at the Mystery Bookstore booth

The Mystery Bookstore's very own Bobby McCue

The crowds begin to grow

James Ellroy at the Borders booth

Michael Connelly talking to a fan

Crowded now

The wonderful and talented Cornelia Read fresh from the Edgars

Speaking of Edgars...Edgar award winner Naomi Hirahara and I catch up (Way to go, Naomi!)

Duane Swierczynski trying to unsuccessfully get out of a picture with Sean Doolittle during our gourmet lunch

Sean Doolittle and Victor Gischler

Mary Higgins Clark (blue jacket), Carol Higgins Clark (in red), behind the Mystery Bookstore worker in the white shirt is George Pelecanos passing time with Stuart Woods.

A whole portion of the festival I only did a quick pass through...

Simon Wood

The Fonz looking for a book...that's right, Henry Winkler at the Mystery Bookstore booth

Sean Doolittle and Joanne Fluke

Laura Lippman talking with Jan Burke at Mystery Galaxy booth

Joseph Wambaugh

Megan Abbot, Jason Starr, and Theresa Schwegel

If you've never gone before, hopefully these pictures will have convinced you it's an event not to be missed.