Friday, November 21, 2008

All I want for Christmas

My good friend (and hell of a writer) Sean Chercover posted what I consider to be an important article over at his group blog The Outfit. I asked him if I could re-post here. Please give it a read if you haven't already.


by Sean Chercover

All I want for Christmas. . .

"But it's too early to blog about Christmas," I hear you say. "We haven't even reached Thanksgiving!"

True, but we are living in desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. Surely you've seen the news, and you know just how desperate. You've heard the cries from Washington and Wall Street and Detroit. It's a Global Economic Meltdown(TM), and just in time for the Holiday Shopping Season(TM).

Run and hide!

Okay, I know that we're all in for some serious belt-tightening, but here's the thing: You will probably buy a few Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gifts for your loved ones this year. You may not be as lavish as in years past, but you'll probably buy something, right?

Right. So please, make that something a book.

Doesn't have to be my book (although I have no objection to that), just any book will do. Fiction, preferably. But as I said, any book will do. Fiction, non-fiction, hardcover, paperback, frontlist, backlist. Just so long as you give books.

Maybe give a book that had a big impact on the way you see the world, or simply a book that made you smile. A book is a beautiful, thoughtful, personal gift. And a book can be burned for heat when the entire economy collapses and we are all left freezing in the dark.

Really, there's no better gift this year.

Those of you who read the publishing trades know that I'm not kidding around. Share prices of the largest book retailer in America just hit an all-time low. Some other bookstore chains and many independents may not survive the winter. Even the most optimistic economists project no economic growth until next spring. And that will be too late for many bookstores.

It's that serious, kids.

Of course, if you're so broke that you're considering roasting the family pet for Christmas dinner, you get a free pass. But for the rest of us . . . for those who are going to buy something to give our loved ones this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa. . .

Please, give a book.

----

Brett again...just wanted to add that if you have never read any of Sean's work, you are really missing something. He's writing some of the best PI stuff out there in my opinion. Stuff that is as good as anyone has ever written. His debut BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD was fantastic, and he follow up TRIGGER CITY (which just came out) is even better. Consider either when looking for those all important holiday presents!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Coming July 7th, 2009 (New Book's Cover!)

So now that it's on Amazon, I can officially announce the title of my next Jonathan Quinn novel will be SHADOW OF BETRAYAL and I even have a cover to show you:



It's a bit of a change from the covers on the first two books, but I really like it! Conveys the tension and mystery that permeates the novel, me thinks. Of course you haven't read it yet, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2 Interviews & a Review

First here's a link to the interview I did with Russel McLean over at Crime Scene Scotland:
CLICK HERE

Second is a video interview I did with Authorlink.com:
CLICK HERE

And finally...a review of THE DECEIVED on Bookreporter.com:
CLICK HERE

ENJOY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a little something to share...

For those of you wondering how long the Jonathan Quinn series will last, I can't give you an exact answer, but I can tell you this...from Publisher's Marketplace:

"FICTION: THRILLER

Brett Battles's third & fourth novels in the Shamus and Barry Award-nominated Jonathan Quinn series, to Danielle Perez at Bantam Dell, by Anne Hawkins at John Hawkins & Associates (World)."


It's actually the fourth and fifth novels, so there will be at least five Quinn books!

In a completely unrelated (...eh...well...maybe a little related) announcement, as of the end of September I'm retiring from the day job and writing full time.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Announcements!

My apologies for the lack of posts this summer, have been busy and have had other things to think about. But I did want to make a couple of announcements.

I think I already mentioned that I have been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller. Well, you can add a nom for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel!

Here's the official announcement.


Private Eye Writers of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 2, 2008

CONTACT: Ted Fitzgerald – Shamus Awards Chair tedfitz [at] msn.com

PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA ANNOUNCES
2008 SHAMUS AWARDS NOMINEES

The Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) is proud to announce the nominees for the 27th annual Shamus Awards, given annually to recognize outstanding achievement in private eye fiction. The 2008 awards cover works first published in the U.S. in 2007. The awards will be presented at the PWA banquet, to be held Friday evening Oct. 10, 2008, in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Banquet details will be announced later in August.

2008 Shamus Awards Nominees

Best Hardcover
Head Games by Thomas B. Cavanagh (St. Martins Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Mike Garrity.
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books), featuring Moe Prager.
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes (William Morrow), featuring Ed Loy.
A Welcome Grave by Michael Koryta (St. Martins Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Lincoln Perry.
A Killer’s Kiss by William Lashner (William Morrow), featuring Victor Carl.

Best Paperback Original
Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas (Hard Case) featuring John Blake.
Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong (Bantam) featuring Nadia Stafford.
Stone Rain by Linwood Barclay (Bantam) featuring Zack Walker.
Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case) featuring Ms. Michael Tree.
Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Mortalis/Ballantine) featuring Jude McManus.

Best First Novel
The Cleaner by Brett Battles (Delacorte), featuring Jonathan Quinn.
Keep It Real by Bill Bryan (Bleak House Books), featuring Ted Collins.
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow), featuring Ray Dudgeon.
When One Man Dies by Dave White (Three Rivers Press), featuring Jackson Donne.
The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Joe Kozmarski.

Best Short Story
"Kill the Cat" by Loren D. Estleman, DETROIT NOIR (Akashic), featuring Amos Walker.
"Trust Me" by Loren D. Estleman, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2007, featuring Amos Walker.
"Open Mike" by James Nolan, NEW ORLEANS NOIR (Akashic), featuring Vincent Panarello.
“Hungry Enough" by Cornelia Read, A HELL OF A WOMAN (Busted Flush Press), featuring Philip.
"Room for Improvement" by Marilyn Todd, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dec. 2007, featuring Lois Hepburn.



PWA was founded in 1981 by Robert J. Randisi to recognize the private eye genre and its writers. Previous Shamus winners include Lawrence Block, Ken Bruen, Harlan Coben, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, O’Neil deNoux, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Sue Grafton, James W. Hall, Steve Hamilton, Jeremiah Healy, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, John Lutz, Bill Pronzini, S.J. Rozan, Sandra Scoppettone and Don Winslow.
P.I. Guy logo by Terry Beatty.



As I was with the Barry Nom, I am deeply touched and honored. In fact, it's still hard to believe, but hard to argue with the black and white announcement!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

THE DECEIVED hits the UK


As of today, my second novel - THE DECEIVED - is in bookstores throughout the UK and Ireland! If you're over there and have a chance, check it out, then let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

THE DECEIVED in Bookstores TODAY



Today's pub day for both my new novel, THE DECEIVED, and for the mass paperback of my first novel, THE CLEANER, both featuring freelance op Jonathan Quinn.

Anonymity. Trust. Professionalism. In his world, Jonathan Quinn has a few rules. He’ll get rid of bodies that have to disappear; nothing ever gets traced back to him. But when Quinn is called to a busy Los Angeles port where a shipping container has just come in from the sea, it’s clear his rules have been violated. Inside the crate is a dead man—a man who once saved Quinn’s life. And while no one knows how CIA agent Steven Markoff died, Quinn has to do more than clean. He has to find Markoff’s girlfriend, Jenny. To tell her that Markoff is dead. To find out why—and why someone sent Markoff’s body to him.

Until a week ago, Jenny Fuentes was an assistant to an ambitious congressman. Now Jenny is missing, too, and a lot of man power is making sure she isn’t found. But Quinn has his own man power. He has tools that can pry into secrets held anywhere in the world. He has the skill to trade blows with killers and spies. And he has covert weapons: his eager and smart apprentice, Nate, and brilliant Orlando, his closest friend, who’s saved his life more than once.

Racing from the corridors of power in Washington to the bustling streets of Singapore, Quinn won’t stop until he uncovers the truth behind his friend’s violent death, the astounding reason Jenny has vanished—and what she knows about the most explosive deception of all.


Let me know if you have a chance to read it, then let me know what you think!

-------

CONTEST WINNERS

The latest sweepstakes ended last night, and we have two winners. Rena P. from Oklahoma City, OK, and Melissa R. from Roswell, GA. Congratulations to both of you. Your signed copies of THE DECEIVED will be in the mail very soon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thank you LIBRARY JOURNAL

STARRED REVIEW for THE DECEIVED!

Battles, Brett. The Deceived. Delacorte. Jul. 2008. c.368p. ISBN 978-0-385-34157-8. $24. F

Freelance "cleaner" Jonathan Quinn is hired to make a body disappear. When he discovers that the victim is a friend, Quinn violates the first rule of his profession and becomes personally involved. Quinn, female ally Orlando, and apprentice Nate travel to Singapore to prevent an assassination and rescue an innocent woman. Lots of tradecraft and a growing relationship between Quinn and Orlando make this a successful sequel to The Cleaner. Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

LAUNCH PARTY & Signing Schedule

Less than a week until THE DECEIVED and the paperback of THE CLEANER reach bookstores! Sounds like a great reason for a party to me...

If you're in the L.A. area on Saturday afternoon, come on by The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. They will be hosting the launch party for THE DECEIVED at 5:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome. They'll be some champagne, some snacks, and fun.

The Mystery Bookstore
1036-C Broxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
310.209.0415
Map here
Mystery Bookstore Website Here

Also have a couple other signings and events coming up:

Saturday, June 28th 12:30 p.m.
The Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Drive #302
San Diego, CA 92111
858.268.4747
Website Here

Thursday, July 10th through Saturday July 12th
THRILLERFEST
Grand Hyatt, New York City
Website Here

Saturday, July 19th
Mysteries To Die For
2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
805.374.0084
Website Here

Hope to see you somewhere along the way!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FINAL SWEEPSTAKES for THE DECEIVED


We are t-minus twelve days until the pub date for both my new novel THE DECEIVED and the mass paperback of my first novel THE CLEANER.

So instead of giving away an ARC this month, I'll be giving away 2, YES TWO, hardcover first editions of THE DECEIVED to 2 lucky winners. Here's all you have to do to enter:

1. Send an email to contest AT brettbattles DOT com .
2. In the email tell me your favorite book from the last three months.
3. Optional: include your address
4. You will automatically be added to my mailing list, so if you do not want to be add, say so in the email.

That's it. We'll have the drawing on Monday June 23rd, the night before the big day. So come on, what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Spent much of the weekend at Book Expo America (BEA) held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Saw a lot of old friends. A couple of highlights:

1. Ran out of books at my signing on Sunday less than 40 minutes into an hour signing!
2. The MWA party on Friday night at the Edison in downtown LA...very cool.
3. Dinner after the party with Naomi Hirahara, Bill Cameron, Robert Gregory Browne, and Bill's agent Janet Reid.
4. Got home Friday night to find out that I'd been NOMINATED for a BARRY AWARD for BEST THRILLER!!
(see all the noms here)
5. On Sunday the new ITW newsletter came out and there's a feature on me.
See it here.

And to top it all off...a little league game with my son on Saturday, and my daughter dancing the hula on stage at the Hawaiian Festival in Northridge on Sunday Afternoon.

That makes for a pretty good weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And The Winner Is...

The winner of the ARC for my MAY drawing is:

Robert T. of Rockville, MD!

Congrats Robert. I'll get it out to you next week.

NEXT MONTH'S DRAWING WILL BE FOR AN ACTUAL HARD COPY FIRST EDITION OF THE DECEIVED. Watch here for more info.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

THE DECEIVED - Sweepstakes #4


This is it. The final chance to win an ARC of THE DECEIVED! I will have one more sweepstakes in June, but that will be for an actual hardcover copy. Entering is simple:

1. Email me at: contest AT brettbattles DOT com

2. Include: your name, and the title of the favorite book you read in the last three months.

3. Optional: include your mailing address. If you don't and you win, I'll email you for the info.

4. Mailing List: all those who enter will be added to my mailing list (something I don't share with others...also I limit the amount of emails I send to a few a year.) If you do NOT want to be including on the list, please let me know in your email.

Nothing else needed.

Deadline is 6 p.m. Pacific Coast Time on May 29th. That's a little over 2 weeks away.

Remember: those who participated in the previous sweepstakes in February, March and April but didn't win are automatically entered. If you were one of the winners, sorry, only those who haven't won are eligible.

Best of luck to everyone.

Friday, May 09, 2008

THE DECEIVED - First Chapter Excerpt



Tthe first chapter and part of the second of THE DECEIVED is now up on my website! We are t-minus one and a half months to pub date (June 24th), and I can't wait.

Did I mention that it's a double pub date? That's right. Not only does the hardcover of THE DECEIVED come out on June 24th, but so does the mass market paperback of THE CLEANER! Something for everyone.

CLICK HERE to read the excerpt from THE DECEIVED

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

KISS HER GOODBYE


My good friend Robert Gregory Browne's novel KISS HER GOODBYE is out today in paperback.

It's an non-stop thrill ride that I highly recommend.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy and I loved it! (And for you Rob fans...something to make you jealous...Rob was kind enough to give me a copy of his next novel WHISPERS IN THE DARK which doesn't come out until January. I'm only about 50 pages in, but it's great. Can't wait to get back to it.)

KISS HER GOODBYE description:

ATF Agent Jack Donovan has two ambitions: take down cult leader Alex Gunderson after years of violent mayhem, and reconnect with his daughter Jessie, who has somehow managed to slip from his life. But, none of Jack’s experience as a stellar cop or an absent father has prepared him for the unthinkable way these two parts of his life are about to collide.

In a desperate act of revenge, Gunderson kidnaps Jessie and buries her alive. But just as Jack’s team is closing in, fate intervenes in the form of a bullet and the secret to Jessie’s location is lost. With only a few precious hours of oxygen to sustain her, and with not a single clue pointing in her direction, Jessie is sure to die—unless Jack can somehow find her. But what Jack doesn’t realize is that he’s about to take a sharp turn into a world from which few of us return: the darkness of death itself.


READ MORE AND BUY IT HERE

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Winner! And A Festival! And A Hiatus.

First off, the winner of the April Sweepstakes for a signed ARC of THE DECEIVED is Erika S. from Florida! Congratulations, Erika.

Don't worry, the May sweepstakes for another copy will begin in a few weeks. So if you didn't enter or did but didn't win, you'll have another chance soon!

--------

This weekend is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books! Too much fun. If you are in Southern California this weekend, I'd seriously advise you check it out. I blogged about it yesterday at Murderati.

Read more here

--------

And now Hiatus...I speeding toward a June 1st deadline, so my blogging will be light at best until then. Hell, it's been pretty light for the last couple weeks, but at least now you know the reason why. The May Sweepstakes will happen, so watch for that. And if I have anything relevant to say/share, I'll post that, too. Otherwise you'll be able to find me every other Thursday over at Murderati.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

THE DECEIVED Sweepstakes #3


Running a little late getting this started, but it's time for the April sweepstakes for an advance copy of my upcoming release, THE DECEIVED! Those of you who participated in the previous sweepstakes in February and March but didn't win, you are automatically entered. If you were one of the winners, sorry, only those who haven't won are eligible.

If you have played yet, all you have to do is:

Email me at: contest AT brettbattles DOT com

Include: your name, and the title of the favorite book you read in the last three months.

Optional...include your mailing address. If you don't and you will, I'll email you for the info.

Nothing else needed.

Deadline is 6 p.m. Pacific Coast Time on April 24th. That's right, only one week from tonight! I'll announce the winner on the 25th.

Best of luck! And don't worry if you don't win, I be having a contest in May and in June also...and if you've entered any of my sweepstakes for the launch of THE DECEIVED but haven't won, you are automatically entered in the upcoming drawings.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dear President Bush

A few weeks ago you seemed surprised by the idea that gas would soon reach $4.00 a gallon. If you don't remember, here's a clip to remind you:



Well, I was driving around Los Angeles this weekend and noticed a theme that I thought I should make you aware of.












Hope these help.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sweepstakes #2 Winner

Again, thanks to everyone who participated! For those who didn't win, fear not, you will automatically be entered in the upcoming April, May, and June sweepstakes. And for those of you didn't get a chance to enter, the next one will start in a couple weeks, so stay tune.

March's winner is:

Josue C.

Congrats to Josue! Once I have your info, I'll send out your signed copy of THE DECEIVED.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Musical Inspiration #21

Great song to start the week, and as an added bonus, it's a kick-ass video too! Enjoy...



DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION - The Blood Arm featuring Anais

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweepstakes #2 Reminder

Only 1 week left to entry to win an advanced copy of my new novel THE DECEIVED.

DETAILS HERE

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

THE DECEIVED Sweepstakes #2


I'm now taking entries for the March sweepstakes for an advance copy of THE DECEIVED! Those of you who participated in February's sweepstakes but didn't win, you are automatically entered. If you were one of our winners, sorry, only those who haven't won are eligible.

Now for the rest of you, those who didn't get their entries in last month, here's all you have to do:

Email me at: contest AT brettbattles DOT com

Include: your name, and the title of the favorite book you read in the last three months.

That's it.

Deadline is 6 p.m. Pacific Coast Time on March 27th. I'll announce the winner on the 28th.

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lessons on Reporting #1

The sweet spot starts about :55 seconds in. You think maybe there's some history here?


http://view.break.com/467869 - Watch more free videos

Thursday, March 06, 2008

THE CLEANER Reviewed

Shots Magazine in the UK has just reviewed THE CLEANER.

READ IT HERE

UK and Ireland THE CLEANER IS HERE



Today is the official release date in the UK and Ireland for THE CLEANER. And good news for the folks there, you won't have to wait a year for my next novel. THE DECEIVED will be in bookstores at the beginning of July, just a week or so after it comes out here in the U.S.

So enjoy...and, everyone, let me know what you think of the UK cover (above).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Animation Inspiration #4

Title design has always been an interest of mine, especially so since I've worked in the motion graphics industry for many, many years. Saul Bass has always been one of the pillars of the industry.

Here's someone's idea of what Saul might have done if he'd been assigned the project of designing the title sequence for STAR WARS. In a word...hilarious.



CLICK HERE for more on Saul Bass

Friday, February 29, 2008

Sweepstakes #1 Winner(s)

First, thank you so much to everyone who participated! What a great turn out, even larger than I expected. And a note to those who didn't get their entries in...Come March will do it all again, so you still have a chance. Also, anyone who entered February's sweepstakes will be automatically entered in March. So it's a win-win for everyone!

And because there were so many entries, I decided to give away not 1, but 2 advance copies of THE DECEIVED. And the winners are:

Peggy from West Terre Haute, Indiana
and
Joanne from Warrington, Pennsylvania

Congratulations to both of you. Expect your prizes in the next two weeks.

And to the rest of you, stay tuned for the announcement in March of THE DECEIVED Sweepstakes #2.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Murderati #5 and Sweepstakes Reminder

I'm over at Murderati again today.

Also, today is the LAST DAY to enter the sweepstakes for an ARC of my new novel THE DECEIVED.

DETAILS HERE



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Musical Inspiration #20

One of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a long time.


FALLING SLOWLY, the Academy Award® winning song from the movie ONCE

I hear the movie is pretty damn good, too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sweepstakes Reminder! ONE WEEK LEFT!



Want to win an advance review copy of my next book THE DECEIVED? Well, you can't if you don't enter.

DETAILS HERE

Thanks for playing.

Monday, February 11, 2008

THE DECEIVED Sweepstakes #1


As promised, it's time for our first sweepstakes to win an advanced copy of my new novel THE DECEIVED....

Just to give you a taste:

The Port of Los Angeles. Quinn has been called there to do a job. A body has arrived in a shipping container, and he has been hired to dispose of it. Only the body isn't just another nameless corpse. And Quinn realizes his job won't be over just because the deadman has been buried.


And no worries...Nate and Orlando are both back.

Here's the rules.

1. EMAIL me at: contest@brettbattles.com

2. Subject line should read "THE DECEIVED Sweepstakes #1" or something similar.

3. IMPORTANT: In the body of the email, give me the name and the author of the best book you've read in the last three months. I'll post the list here at the end of the sweepstakes.

4. Everyone entering will be added to my mailing list, so if you don't want to be added, say so in the body of the message. (No worries, this will not change your chances. Everyone who enters is equally eligible. And if you are already on my mailing list, you are still eligible.)

5. SWEEPSTAKES CONCLUSION: No more entries will be accepted after 6:00 p.m. Pacfic Time (Los Angeles) on February 28th. That's almost 3 weeks to get your entry in! I'll draw the winner that night and post details on February 29th (LEAP DAY!)


Easy enough. Now get cracking!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What Some People Think Up...Random Inspiration #1

So artist Michel de Broin has come up with an interesting idea...he's taken a 1986 Buick Regal and made it...well...green. Check out the video (it gets especially good went the cops get involved).



On his website, he says:

In this project, all superfluous devices were removed from an 86’ Buick Regal – the engine, suspension, transmission and electrical system – thereby reducing the weight of the vehicle whilst preserving its appearance. It was then equipped with 4 independent pedal and gear mechanisms that make it possible for passengers to form the self-propulsion group. A cutting edge transmission technology was developed to transmit the power supplied by the passengers to the drive wheels and to vary the reduction ratios between cyclists and wheels, so as to ensure their progressive coupling for start-ups. With a top speed of around 15 km/h, the vehicle’s resistance to the culture of performance is raised to an unprecedented level.


Check out more on his website here.

Thanks to carectomy.com
and to
EcoGeek.org for pointing it out.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fair Warning

First, watch out for buffet scrambled eggs...I've never gotten food poisoning until Tuesday night, and here it is Thursday and I'm still not 100% right yet. Ugh...but I'm getting there. Plus side: forced diet for the last 48 hours!

BUT MORE IMPORTANT: I just received my ARCs of THE DECEIVED! So it is almost time for our first sweepstakes to win a copy. Watch for details. Warn your friends. I think we'll kick things off next month.

And if you don't win, no worries...I'm planning on having a sweepstakes a month!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Super Tuesday

I’m in one of the Super Tuesday states. As I write this, it’s 6:18 a.m. Usually I’ve been working on my current manuscript for around twenty minutes by now. But I’m finding myself distracted. I’m finding myself unable to focus the scene I’ve been working on.

I’m a bit of a political junkie, I’ll admit to that. It’s not a 100% thing, but it is something that has been part of my make up since I was a child. I remember elections from when I was a child, being fascinated by the electoral vote, watching the news as each states choice was made.

My fascination with politics hasn’t been limited to just elections either. I remember also as a child, being glued to the television one summer watching the Watergate hearing, and seeing John Dean testify against Richard Nixon and his people. I should have been out playing. I think my mother even encouraged me at times to stop watching the TV, but I couldn’t. I was riveted.

I don’t have a perfect voting record. But I have missed very few since I was old enough to cast my ballot. And I’m not going to miss today. The polls open here in California in thirty-five minutes (it’s now 6:27 a.m.), and I plan on being one of the first people through the door.

See, I have this anxiousness, this excitement building inside me today. I can’t wait to see how the day turns out. I’ve already got the TV turned on to one of those 24 hour news stations. And I’ll keep it on all day.

I have a definite candidate I’m voting for. One I’m excited about. But that’s not why I’m writing about the election today. Those of you in the US in states voting today won’t be influenced by who I choose, you’ll have your own idea of who excites you, who will bring the vision that you want this country to go in.

My only request is that if you do have an election in your state today, vote.

Please.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Musical Inspiration #19

We haven't done one of these for a little while. Here's one from 6 or 7 years ago.


Gorillaz - 19/2000

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pictures from Last Saturday's KILLER YEAR Signing

We had a wonderful signing with a lot of familiar and new faces. Thanks to everyone who came out, or even tried to! We had a great time. (FYI for those wondering...yes my hair is long...yes I'm getting it cut.)


Marc and Rob wonder, Where the hell is Brett?




Brett and Rob discuss the finer points of punctuation, while Marc looks on and thinks, Maybe it was better when Brett wasn't here!




Audience members look on transfixed by the witty novelists...ahem...




Let the signing begin!






Fun had by all





Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Liar's Diary


Today marks the release in paperback of my fellow Killer Year member Patry Francis' novel THE LIAR'S DIARY. And because Patry is unable to get out and about to promote her work at the moment, her friends in blogland have decided to do it for her.

About THE LIAR'S DIARY

Jeanne Cross’s contented suburban life gets a jolt of energy from the arrival of Ali Mather, the stunning new music teacher at the local high school. With a magnetic personality and looks to match, Ali draws attention from all quarters, including Jeanne’s husband and son. Nonetheless, Jeanne and Ali develop a deep friendship based on their mutual vulnerabilities and long-held secrets that Ali has been recording in her diary. The diary also holds a key to something darker: Ali’s suspicion that someone has been entering her house when she is not at home. Soon their friendship will be shattered by violence—and Jeanne will find herself facing impossible choices in order to protect the people she loves.


And some praise, of course:

“Twists and turns but never lets go.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“Outright chilling.”
—New York Daily News

“Genuinely creepy . . . The unlikely friendship between a small-town school secretary and a flamboyant teacher proves deadly in this psychological murder mystery.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“A twisting ride full of dangerous curves and jaw-dropping surprises. This is one of my favorite reads of the year!”
—Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Mephisto Club

“A quirky, well-written and well-constructed mystery with an edge.”
—Publishers Weekly


And if that's not enough to convince you yet...check out the trailer:



Patry's had a bit of a go at it the past couple months, but things are looking up. If you want to know more, you can read about it at her blog:

Simply Wait

Buy THE LIAR'S DIARY here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Signing Tomorrow


If you're in L.A. tomorrow afternoon, come by the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood and join Robert Gregory Browne, Marc Lecard, and I as we talk about and sign copies KILLER YEAR: Stories to Die For....

Would love to see you there!

The Mystery Bookstore Website

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm In For Questioning


I'm the latest guest at Angie Johnson-Schmit's In For Questioning.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

And when you have the time, check out some of her other interviews. She's talk to a lot of really interesting writers already (she only started late last year!)

Thanks, Angie, for including me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

KILLER YEAR is HERE


The KILLER YEAR Anthology is out as of today! (Actually there were sightings in stores as early as last Thursday, but today is the official drop day.) It's a collection of short stories by my fellow Killer Year members, plus four stories from some of our mentors: Ken Bruen, Allison Brennan, MJ Rose, & Duane Swierczynski.

Read the wonderful reviews we've been receiving here!

Special thank you to Lee Child for signing on to be our editor, to MJ, Duane, Ken, & Allison for their wonderful contributions, and to our Killer Year mentors for introducing each of our stories in the book. (Personal thanks to my mentor James Rollins!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cool Gear #2

(I'm calling this #2 because I'm going to consider the 40 hour computer battery post #1)

A JET PACK that works for more than a few seconds. There are a few drawbacks (like needing a plane to get it to the proper altitude), but still it is incredibly cool. It's a little too flashy for Quinn, but I can so see this in the next Bond film.

WIRED has more details.

Take a look...the real flying starts about a minute thirty to a minute forty-five in:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Congratulations!!!!!

The Edgar Award nominations were just announced this morning...of particular interest is the list for Best First Novel By An American Author:

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin Group - Viking)
Snitch Jacket by Christopher Goffard (The Rookery Press)
Head Games by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
Pyres by Derek Nikitas (St. Martin's Minotaur)


Congrats to all the nominees, but particular congratulations to fellow Killer Year member Derek Nikitas!!!! Way to go Derek!

Also, congrats to fellow Murderati mate Ken Bruen for his Best Novel nom!

Best Novel Nominees

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Company)
Priest by Ken Bruen (St. Martin's Minotaur)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)
Down River by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur)


FULL LIST OF NOMINEES HERE

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Make It So #1

Oh please, oh please, oh please let this be for real. And let it trickle down to us lowly users as fast as possible. Oh please! Oh please!

The 40 Hour Laptop Battery

Definition #1

Today's word: startle

Dictionary.com says:
star·tle [stahr-tl]
–verb (used with object)
1. to disturb or agitate suddenly as by surprise or alarm.
2. to cause to start involuntarily, by or as by a sudden shock.
–verb (used without object)
3. to start involuntarily, as from a shock of surprise or alarm.
–noun
4. a sudden shock of surprise, alarm, or the like.
5. something that startles.

But I prefer this:

Murderati #2

You'll find me at Murderati today....

CLICK HERE

Monday, January 14, 2008

Animation Inpsiration #3

Here's a fun animation project I came across...per the website:

This animation was created by all the students in COMS274 Intermedia I, Dept of Communication Studies, Concordia University, Fall 2007. Working in Flash, all 64 students rotoscoped 1-3 seconds of video each, over a period of three weeks. (Most of them had never used Flash before.)

We were inspired by Bob Sabiston's digital rotoscoping (as seen in Snack and Drink, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly), and our readings and class discussions about copyright and creativity.


Love to watch what students who are not tied down by corporate clients will do. This is a lot of fun, and a nice rev up for a Monday.

See It Here
(It's a cool video, but I got annoyed that the embedded version automatically starts playing when you open my blog...so hence the link now.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Musical Inspiration #18

Friday...thank God! I thought the insanity would never end. Out here in L.A., the entertainment world is a mess with this unresolved writer's strike. People are getting laid off, award shows are getting down graded to glorified news conferences, and the temperature has barely climbed out of the 50s so we're all bundled up in our winter best. (Note to all you laughing about our whimpiness: I've seen plenty of cold weather folks move out here and mock us in their first winter only to be wrapped in sweaters and down jackets like the rest of us the next one.)

So today we ask the question, where is the love?


Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Creative Discussion #1 - Tone

From Webster's New World Dictionary:

tone (tõn) n
...2. a manner of expression showing a certain attitude

From Dictionary.com

tone (tohn)
...15. a particular style or manner, as of writing or speech; mood: the macabre tone of Poe's stories.


A story without tone is like a serving of Pad Thai without any spices or flavoring. It's still there, it's still digestible, but it is all it can be? No.

Tone is the tool writers use to create mood and atmosphere and feeling. It is a hand that we use to guide the reader through our stories that allows them to feel what we want them to knew, to experience - as close as possible - the story they are reading without actually having to live the events.

Your tone can be dark, humorous, mysterious, whimsical...

To illustrate tone watch the following two videos. They are the same song, but performed by different artists to completely different effect.






As you know my now, they are both QUE SERA SERA. The first is Doris Day from the Alfred Hitchcock movie THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. The second is from the Portland based band Pink Martini.

I'm actually partial to the Pink Martini version because I guess I'm drawn to things which are darker or a little askew. A very good friend of mine thinks the opposite. She likes the Doris Day version because, I think, of the lightness and the anything can happen (in a good way) feeling it envokes. Both create the tone the particular artist was going for. The same can be said for the prose you write or read. It's just another part of the writing tool kit.

Did you have a favorite? Or perhaps another example of Tone.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Musical Inspiration #17

It's Tuesday, so how about a little Jazz..."Why?" you ask. I say, "Why Not!"

And if we're going jazz for the first time on A Writer's Sphere, let's start off with two of the great!

Enjoy:


Miles Davis & John Coltrane- So What

Monday, January 07, 2008

Animation Inspiration #2

I love this style...simple, yet very effective. Everything is aimed at helping to tell the story:


M. Ward - Chinese Translation

Musical Inpsiration #16

Something fun to get the first full week of 2008 started!


Len - If You Steal My Sunshine

Friday, January 04, 2008

Animation Inspiration #1

This is just beautiful on so many levels...as a story...as an animation...as something we can all relate to...

It was created by Julia Pott (with music by Christopher Frost...

From Julia's description on YouTube: "This was my final film at Kingston University, it is an animated film based on interviews with people about their first crushes. (best version). I can be found at www.myspace.com/angrypony_ and at www.juliapott.com."

Please take a moment and watch My First Crush by Julia Pott:

Musical Inspiration #15

Some fun for a Friday. It's the video that really gets my attention. Love the animation style.


Puffy Ami Yumi - Tokyo I'm On My Way

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Murderati #1


I mentioned last month when I began blogging again that this was not the only place you'd be seeing me. Many of you have probably heard about the blog MURDERATI. As of today, I've joined their ranks.

Read my blog post here.

I'll be alternating Thursdays with the wonderful Zoë Sharp. So I'll be there again in two weeks. But don't worry...I'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Blog Inspiration #1 - Brotherhood 2.0


During 2007, did you follow Brotherhood 2.0? If not, you miss a hell of a lot of fun. For a year, brothers John and Hank Green decided not to have any written communications for a year, and decided instead to create a videoblog, each posting videos to the other on alternating days.

What presumably started out as a small experiment turned into something huge. They ended up creating a large community that tuned in every day to see what was next, a community of fellow Nerd Fighters The whole year of video communication is still up there, so you can go back and sample some or all of the videos. They really have videoblogging down to an art.

But now that the year is over, the daily posts will no longer continue. That makes the whole Nerd Fighter nation (myself included) sad. The good news is that I believe there will be weekly post, so John and Hank are not completely leaving the vidblog scene.

One of the things that really shows the community that they created is the Happy Dance project. You all know what a happy dance is...it's the dance you do when something wonderful happens. Well, Brotherhood 2.0 faithful sent John and Hank videos of their own happy dances after seeing John (I think it was John) doing his own happy dance. Those videos where cut together and put to music then posted to YouTube. It brings a smile to my face every time I watch, partly because it's silly and fun, but partly because it demonstrates the power of creating a world wide community, a community that I'm pretty sure John and Hank had no idea they were going to create when they set out on this path.

So, in celebration of John and Hank achieving the goals set out at the beginning of Brotherhood 2.0, I give you the Happy Dance Project:

Musical Inspiration #14

Happy New Year, everyone! This year will be another big one, hopefully for all of us.

Later this month will see the release of the KILLER YEAR Anthology.
More about that later.

June will bring the publication of my next novel THE DECEIVED.

And while all this is happening, I'll be working on the third book in the series. So a busy, big year.

To get us started on the right foot...a little bit of inspiration and musical entertainment...


1 Giant Leap - Braided Hair