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.


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


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


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


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)


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 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.
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....


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 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


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!


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 a an 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 and at"

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'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