Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why I do what I do...

...with books, my website, but mostly why I give away books.

This is for Chris, who is the reason I'm writing this. You know who you are.

I love books. I love to read, always have, since I was 2 years old. Yes, 2 - no snotty comments please or I'll be forced to have my mother call you and brag about me. Trust me, you don't want that.

I started my website when I was working for Borders as a way to keep track of the books I'd read, and the books I wanted to read. The Hachette Book Group, who was Time Warner books at the time, before they became AOL Time Warner, then went back to TW then became who they are now, were the publishers who got me started giving away books. They asked if I would mind giving away their books, and I was thrilled to do it.

Working for Borders was my first experience in getting free books, advance reader copies for the most part, and as an avid reader, what could be better! Since I loved getting free books, I figured other readers would too and I've given away thousands of books in the past 9 years.

As the site has grown, so have the contests and it began to take a lot of my time, basically most of my "free time". Often I found myself stealing time from work, from school, even from my family to take care of handling all the free book stuff. At the suggestion of a writer who is also a marketing genius, (thanks, MJ) I hesitantly started charging a small fee to run these contests on my website.

I am not a business person. I hate asking people for money, and I really, really hate chasing people for money. Which brings me to my sad tale of woe.

I not only do these contests for publishers, but also for independent publicists and authors whose publishers don't think web promotions are a good idea (yes, there are still some out there) or whose publishers don't have the budget, or authors who just want to do a little more to help promote themselves.

I met an author at the first ThrillerFest convention who had just landed a contract for his first book. He wanted to pick my brain a bit, but we kept missing each other and eventually just exchanged a few emails. A year later, his book was being published and his independent publicist (not the one assigned by his publisher but someone he hired on his own) arranged a book giveaway for my readers. This author, like many (most?) thriller writers, is a lawyer.

I ran the promotion last summer. There were well over 1500 entries, a very respectable number.

The author never paid my bill. He never paid the publicist for several other promotions she had arranged for him. In fact, she told me in the almost 20 years she'd been in the business, she'd never had problems with an author like she had with him, to the point of embarrassment. Oh, and he never sent out the books to the winners of the promotion I did for him either. Luckily, his publicist is a woman of honor and she sent them out at her own expense - not reimbursed, I'm sure.

Am I going to sue a lawyer for my piddly little fee? Hardly. The court costs, even in small claims court, would probably be just about what I would collect. Is his publicist going to sue? Doubtful. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and call it a learning experience.

In other words, he is the classic slimeball shyster lawyer, the reason why Shakespeare suggested killing them all, etc. etc.

But I refuse to dump on an entire profession because one guy shit on me. I know too many really nice guys who happen to be lawyers. I've dealt with probably a hundred lawyers-turned-authors who have treated me with nothing but respect and kindness.

But I do worry a bit more when I schedule promotions. Like I said, I hate asking for money, and I really hate asking for it twice.

I'm done venting. Go enter this month's contest- WIN BOOKS

There are a few days left and I am giving aways signed copies of almost all my favorite thrillers from 2007, plus some beautiful coffee table books, the latest Ian Rankin, and more!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Library Journal's Best Books of 2007

The list selected by LJ editors: Margaret Heilbrun, Barbara Hoffert, Anna Katterjohn, Heather McCormack, Mirela Roncevic, & Wilda Williams

Everybody's a Critic: LJ Reviewers Pick Their 2007 Favorites, includes recommendations from a handful of LJ fiction reviewers, including your very own BookBitch

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


See the list here: Village Voice

Monday, December 17, 2007

10 books that make perfect presents

Cosmo’s book editor has recommendations for everyone on your list

Slate picks the best books of 2007

Check out the list:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Best Crime Fiction from the Seattle Times

Adam Woog's best crime fiction of 2007

Adam Woog's column on crime and mystery fiction appears on the second Sunday of the month in The Seattle Times.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

January Magazine Best Books of 2007

Several lists here - January Magazine

Terry Pratchett

Sad news about Terry Pratchett today - he's been diagnosed with "a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer's". He wrote a note about it on his DiscWorld News.

Monday, December 10, 2007

TIME’s 50 Top Ten Lists of 2007
...including the Top 10 Fiction Books, Top Ten Non-Fiction Books, and Top Ten Children’s Books.

Top Ten Fiction Books:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Then We Came to the End: A Novel by Joshua Ferris
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Petterson
Tree of Smoke: A Novel by Denis Johnson
The House of Meetings by Martin Amis
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Like You'd Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 by John Richardson
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn Sacks
Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

Top Ten Children’s Books:

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything Written by Elise Broach, illustrated by David Small
Today I Will Fly Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Motherbridge of Love Illustrated by Josee Masse
Iggy Peck, Architect Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Great Joy Written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Diary of A Fly Written Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Harry Bliss
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County Written by Janice N. Harrington; illustrated by Shelley Jackson
Smelly Bill Written and Illustrated by Daniel Postgate
City Lullaby Written by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Carll Cneut
Cherry and Olive Written and Illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe

To see all 50 of TIME’s Top 10 Lists of 2007, go to,30576,1686204,00.html

Lists include:

1. Campaign Gaffes
2. Cartoons
3. TIME Top 10 Stories
4. Middle East News Stories
5. Asia News
6. Movies (Richard Corliss)
7. Movies (Richard Schickel)
8. New TV Shows
9. Returning TV Shows
10. Albums
11. Songs
12. Live Performances
13. Fiction Books
14. Non-fiction Books
15. Video Games
16. Web Videos
17. DVDs
18. Theater
19. Kids’ Books
20. Fashion must-haves
21. Fashion Trends
22. Museum/Art Exhibitions
23. Magazine Covers
24. Comics/Graphic Novels
25. TV Ads
26. Buzzwords
27. Scandals
28. Crimes
29. Underrreported Stories
30. Oddball News
31. Animal Stories
32. Awkward Moments
33. T-shirt Slogans
34. Photos
35. Sports Moments
36. Worst Biz Deals
37. Best Biz Deals
38. Toys
39. Gadgets
40. Sports Matches
41. Most Popular Stories
42. Websites
43. Breakups
44. Medical Breakthroughs
45. Scientific Discoveries
46. Green Ideas
47. Religion stories
48. Natural Disasters
49. Man-made Disasters

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Check out the selections which herald the start of a new monthly list of recommendations. FYI, I am a voting member but none of my selections made the top 5.

NBCC's Best Recommended

Washington Post Top 10 Books of 2007

Looks somewhat similar to the NY Times, plus additional lists for fiction, nonfiction and critic's picks.

Washington Post

Friday, November 30, 2007

'Tis the Season...for all those best books of the year lists

I've posted my favorite thrillers on my website, but here's the NY Times --

The 10 Best Books of 2007

And if that isn't enough for you, check out the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2007

I'll post more lists as I come across them. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2007 National Book Award Winners

The winners of the 2007 National Book Awards were announced November 14, at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The annual awards are given by the National Book Foundation to recognize achievements in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The night's ceremonies included the presentation of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to essayist Joan Didion and the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Terry Gross, host and executive producer of National Public Radio's Fresh Air.

This year's winners are:

Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke (FSG)

Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Doubleday)

Robert Hass, Time and Materials (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Young People's Literature
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown) -- The #1 Fall 2007 Book Sense Children's Pick

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It was my pleasure to attend the Miami Book Fair on Saturday and as always, had a great time. My first surprise of the day occurred as I entered the fair. The first booth, or rather booths (they had several) was Borders. Big deal you say? Well, it is to me. The first time I attended the fair was about 10 years ago when I worked the booth for Borders. In those days all the bookstores had booths, the independents and the chains. But slowly the chains disappeared, probably to the delight of the indies, but as a former Borders employee it saddened me. The street fair became less.

But Borders has a new CEO and he is taking the company in a new direction. That leadership was sorely needed. Doing a book fair is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is telling of a direction that the company seems to moving in – the stores look better, the cafes are now all Seattle’s Best (owned by Starbucks who is apparently taking over the coffee drinking world,) and Borders is taking back their website from But this is supposed to be about the book fair, and I’ve strayed. Forgive me and follow me back to the fair…

At the Borders booth I ran into one of my favorite authors, Joseph Finder. Joe was busy schmoozing and signing books and posters, but he stopped to chat with me and my friend Judy. I was delighted to run into him because I had gotten a really nice email about him. A new author trying to get published found Joe through my MySpace page and contacted him. This author wrote to tell me that Joe was incredibly nice and so helpful, and he thanked me, as if I had anything to do with it! But I was happy to hear it – so many people say they want to help, but rarely do, so it’s wonderful to hear that a successful and very busy author took the time to help out the new guy. And it was my pleasure to share that with Joe.

In turn, Joe shared a bit of news with me. He is working on his next book, which is to be the first book of a series! It will be set in the corporate world, but none of his former characters will be appearing. It’s all new and we won’t get any more info than that for quite a while because he still needs to write it. Details, details.

Strolling through the fair I also bumped into P.J. Parrish, well, half of the award winning sister act, at any rate. They are hard at work on a book that will bring both their series characters together. I also ran into Christine Kling, who has been immersed in researching mysteries set in the high seas, something she has some expertise with herself. She’s also exploring historical maritime fiction as well, and seems to be having a ball.

I stopped by the author’s lounge to see who might be lounging instead of working, and ran into Jim Born, who was on his way to appear on a panel of Florida Book Award winners. I also got to chat with Jeff Lindsey, and I asked him if we were going to have to wait two more years for another Dexter book. He said if he could make enough money on this latest one, he wouldn’t have to do another book for five years. Yes, the man writes for money. I also asked if he was involved with the TV series on Showtime – it’s not something I would watch, but I know several people who really enjoy it. He told me he took Hemingway’s advice about Hollywood: go up to the border, throw your book across, and when they throw money back, take it and run. Sounds like good advice. I ran into Jeff a few minutes later at one of the wonderful booksellers’ booths at the fair and got this fabulous picture - yes, Dexter’s daddy, the serial killer creator himself, was there buying Curious George board books.

I finally made it over to a panel that was supposed to start at noon. Got in line and waited because Wesley Clarke was still speaking in the room. He ran about half an hour late, which meant that for the rest of the day, that room would be a scheduling nightmare. It was worth the wait though, to see Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. They’ve been collaborating on a trilogy of children’s books about Peter Pan’s back story, and it is always a treat to see them.

Dave Barry took a “sabbatical” from writing his weekly column for the Miami Herald, and I really miss him. I fear the sabbatical has turned into retirement because he shows no sign of wanting to return and seems to be keeping busy elsewhere. Barry is the book fair’s version of stand up comedy, and he truly excels at it, but he was asked to cut it short so they could catch up on time. Hmmph! Despite the fact he was there promoting a children’s book, he took great delight in pointing out that the event was being sponsored by AARP. He told some great stories and had everyone laughing. Ridley is also a funny guy, and between the two of them they have quite the tag team match going on. The co-chair of the fair informed us that even though this event wasn’t being filmed for Book TV (as most of the nonfiction events are) it was being filmed in its entirety and would be posted on iTunes U but I couldn’t find it. Keep checking back.

Since they have finished the Peter Pan trilogy, they both have more children’s books in the works. Science Fair is about a middle school science fair that goes terribly, terribly wrong. It’s set in Washington D.C. and the science project at the center of the book is going to destroy the world, unless these kids can stop it. Barry’s suggestion for all teachers in the room is to sit the parents down at the beginning of the school year and say look, we need money, and if you don’t give it to us we are going to have a science fair! The dollars would come pouring in…. Pearson also told us he was approached by Disney (who publishes the Peter Pan books) and asked if he would write a crime book for kids that was set in DisneyWorld. He told them he would, provided he was given unlimited access to the park. He was set loose in the Magic Kingdom at 5:00 a.m. on several occasions and got to see them turning on the rides, and all the backstage stuff. The book that came out of that was called Kingdom Keepers. Next up for Mr. Pearson is a book called Steel Trap, a thriller about a 14 year old boy who has a “perfect memory”.

I headed over to the crime fiction panel of the day, featuring Joe Finder, Power Play; Nick Stone, Mr. Clarinet; Greg Iles, The Third Degree; and Ridley Pearson, Killer Weekend. Except I had just left Ridley at the Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson event, so I was curious how he was going to get to the next panel when his first panel was running so late. Answer solved: they just changed the name of the panel to 'waiting for Ridley', and announced he'd be joining them close to the end of the discussion.

I had met Nick Stone up in the author’s lounge, and was delighted to run into him again waiting for his panel to start. He is from Cambridge, and lives in London and has that wonderful British accent that most Americans just adore. He confided that he was a nervous wreck about speaking in public, but he did a fabulous job - he was charming and well spoken. He also told me that he used to be a boxer, which amazed me. His nose is just perfect, and he has all his own teeth! That’s because, he said, he was really good at it. He’s really good at writing too, judging from all the awards and accolades his Mr. Clarinet has received.

Joe Finder was engaging and charismatic as always. He talked a bit about his background, how he got into writing fiction after his first attempt at a journalistic look at Armand Hammer didn’t work out quite the way he thought it would. He also discovered that while his friends (and former co-workers) at the CIA wouldn’t talk to him at all as a journalist, as a novelist they were happy to open up. So were the CEO’s of some of the biggest and best known businesses in the country, and Joe found his niche as the John Grisham of the corporate world. He also shared a rather startling statistic with his audience: “60% of the CIA payroll is in the private sector.”

I was happy to share a little story with him about his latest, Power Play. I recommended it to a co-worker, a septuagenarian gentleman who told me he started reading it one night and literally couldn’t put it down – he stayed up all night reading, and in the early morning hours when his wife discovered what he was doing and demanded he come to bed, he told her he would – as soon as he finished the last chapter. He told me he couldn’t remember the last time he had stayed up all night reading, quite a kudo to Mr. Finder’s remarkable story.

Greg Iles is a really fine writer of very different books. He says every time he turns in a manuscript, his agent says, can’t you ever do anything the same twice? He sort of did with his first two books, they were both set during WWII but that was where the similarities ended. But he is doing it with his next book; he’s bringing back a character, Penn Cage, to another story. Cage has actually appeared in a few of Iles’ books, but this next one will have him center stage. He also talked about his recently released book, The Third Degree. It is based on a real life incident that he has turned into a novel that takes place in the span of seven hours. I haven’t read it yet, but it is in my to-be-read pile and I can’t wait.

Iles says that “insight is only bought with pain.” He feels that most writers’ books take a downward spiral in quality because they are forced to write a new book every year. For some writers, like Pearson, that’s not a problem. But for Iles it is, he says that really only gives him six months to write and he would really prefer a two year span between books to get it how he wants it. And I'm very sorry to say he talks like a man who is thinking about retirement.

Ridley (real name: Robert) Pearson shared that he is working on a new series that will be set in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he lived for 24 years. He says “there is a lot of insanity because there is so much money” and he’s got a lot of great story ideas already. He also told us that he feels a writers’ job is to suspend the readers’ disbelief, and if they don’t, the reader has every right to chuck the book against the wall. Personally, I’ve never heard of anyone doing that with one of Ridley’s books.

The Atlantic Monthly named Ralph Nader one of the "100 most influential Americans" and he’s an American icon in my opinion. I may not always agree with him, but I certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear him speak, and it was my pleasure to do so at the fair. He has a book out called Seventeen Traditions, and it is a tribute to his parents and the way he was raised. He joked that it’s the first book he’s written that everyone has liked; people said it was a great Mother’s Day gift, then a great Father’s Day gift, and now they’re saying it’s a great holiday gift. He feels our nation has commercialized children to the crisis point, and with this book he hopes to remind people what childhood is really supposed to be about. From the stories he told, it is easy to see how he became the man that he is; whether or not you agree with him or his politics, no one can argue that he is an independent thinker with the courage of his convictions. And we need more like him.

Some of the traditions he spoke about were the importance of listening and why children need to be exposed to nature. Something that really struck me was a story he told about what his father said to him one night at dinner when he was 8 years old, and it stayed with him all these years. His father didn’t just ask him how was school today, instead he said, “What did you learn in school today, how to believe or how to think?” Nader said he often thought about that as he sat in classrooms all through high school and college and law school. He also spoke about the tradition of going to the library, and spoke warmly about his local library, the Beardsley & Memorial Library in Winsted, Connecticut.

Other traditions his parents fostered in him were independent thinking and the importance of charity. He said he parents didn’t preach these things, they lived them, and by his observing how they lived, he learned to live that way as well. He told another story about I think it was his sister seeing a street cleaner, and saying to her mother, I’m so glad I don’t have to do that job. Her mother remarked that’s why it’s important to respect people who do the work you don’t want to do, but want to have done – and that’s why they should be paid well for doing those jobs.

After Nader’s speech, questions were taken from the audience. The first question up was more of an accusation; the man said he felt like it was Nader’s fault that Gore lost the election in 2000 because of his Green Party nomination, and was obviously still very upset about it. His remarks garnered applause from at least half the audience, along with some booing from others. Nader showed the kind of man he is and answered the question head on. He spoke about his disgust with the corruption of our current administration and the two party system. He said that 25% of the Democrats in Florida voted for George Bush, and he pointed out that Bush “stole more votes from Gore” than he did. More questions were asked, but what struck me most was that he actually answered the questions he was asked, no matter how uncomfortable, so unlike any other politician or public figure I’ve ever seen.

The last speaker of the day was Chris Matthews, of MSNBC’s Hardball and NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show, and author of Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success, his latest book. The co-chair of the book fair, Barbara Skigen, came out and tried to clear the room after Nader, asking everyone except the “friends” of the book fair to leave.

“Friends” contribute various sums of money to the book fair, depending on how good a “friend” they want to be, and these donations entitle them to wear a “friends” badge around their neck. It also gets them preferred, reserved seating at the front of the room at most of the events, especially the big name events like Matthews. But people weren’t moving; they had good seats or at least some seat for Nader, and they didn’t want to give it up. Meanwhile, hundreds of people had been queuing up for at least an hour (this room was still running about forty minutes late) out in the hall in two lines; the “friends” line which includes friends, media and author/guests, and another, much much longer line for every one else.

Last year the book fair started charging a modest $5 admission to the fair, but each event has always been on a first come, first serve basis, so if there was an author you were dying to see, you had better make sure you queued up early enough to get in. At fairs past (before I had media credentials) I had waited in line for more than an hour to be allowed in to stand in the way back of the room. Others, behind me in line, had been turned away from some events.

I was in the room so I don’t know exactly what was going on out in the hallway. Miami’s finest police officers were brought in, and about a dozen cops swarmed the room, checking everyone’s credentials to make sure no non-friends were still in the room. But they were, and a couple of them stood up and started shouting at Barbara Skigen that they didn’t want to leave. She suggested they get a bond issue on the ballot to build a bigger auditorium. She finally asked them to move to the back of the bus, I mean the back of the room, so they could let the “friends line” inside. A gentleman 'friend' came in and sat behind me and said that there were “thousands” of people waiting outside. A woman 'friend' sat next to me and I asked her what was going on. She said there “lots and lots” of people waiting for more than an hour. By this time it was about 5:30 or so, and the event was supposed to start at 5. She said no explanation was given as to why they were still waiting. They finally let them in a few at a time, and I don’t know that they ever let anyone in who was on the non-friends line. It’s a fairly large room, but I don’t know how many seats it holds – I would guess at least a few hundred, but obviously that wasn’t enough.

The book fair can’t call itself a free event anymore since they charge admission, but they probably need to note that paying admission does not get you into the big name events – only the “friends” are guaranteed that. Mitch Kaplan, founder and active leader of the fair, needs to take a look at how this is working, or not working, as the case may be. He was there for this brouhaha, I saw him at the front of the room briefly before he headed backstage. Hiding certainly wasn’t helpful in sorting the mess out.

Chris Matthews finally was introduced by a Miami attorney and old friend of his at 5:45. Matthews came out and said he thought he was at one of the old Democratic conventions; the Republicans would make an announcement asking people to clear the aisles and they would, the Dems would have those announcements and nobody would move.

He told some great stories, one in particular about when Reagan was shot. He said he was more severely injured than anyone knew, it was kept very quiet but he had lost about half the blood in his body and was near death. About a week later he was finally stabilized, and they decided they needed to let someone in, a visitor. Matthews noted that administration was familiar with the constitution, unlike our current one, and chose to invite Tip O’Neill, speaker of the house, leader of the opposition party, and in line for the presidency, something that never would have occurred to Cheney. One of the administration members was in the room when O’Neill came in. He recently recorded an oral history of what he saw at the University of Virginia. What he said was that Tip O’Neill was on his knees at Reagan’s bedside, and they were holding hands and praying together, reciting the 23rd psalm.

He also said that the difference between “grownups and bloggers” is that grownups have to pass each other in the hall. The point Matthews was trying to make, and that he tries to make in his book, is something he says he learned from Winston Churchill; to grin when you fight. Enjoy the argument, he says, and get loud (big surprise there!) When it gets quiet, get scared.

Recent college graduates would benefit most from this book. He says that kids go through school and every year they get promoted, they know where they are going. In college they’re asked what they dream about, and are pointed towards programs that can get them to their dream. But once they graduate, they need to learn how to ask for what they want. Matthews says “whatever door is open, squeeze through it.” I purchased a copy for my 22 year old son who recently graduated from college. I’m giving it to him for Chanukah, and I hope he finds it beneficial. I don’t have to worry about him reading about his gift here, he never reads my blog!

Matthews says that we are an attention deficit society; the average viewership for his show is 11 minutes. He also says that he hasn’t figured out the world yet, and he doesn’t have all the answers, “but O’Reilly does, and Keith does.” He also took questions at the end, and said Joe Biden doesn’t have a chance but he thinks he’s a good guy and will probably end up as Secretary of State.

Matthews thinks that Hillary has the best chance of becoming president, but that Bill needs to step back and stop distracting us. He compared her situation to a “really good, a great horror movie – the girl finally saves herself,” while in the bad, B-movie horror flicks, the guy saves her. He says she has the “highest floor and the lowest ceiling in politics.” He talked about how smart women are, and says that Giuliani is a tough guy, but we don’t need bravado, we need smarts. He talked about traditional families, and how it’s the women who are the administrators, they keep the checkbook, juggle all the appointments, know what’s going on with every family member. Men check out noises in the night.

Another interesting question was about how to get kids interested in politics and what’s going on in the world, and how to get them out to vote. Matthews gave a succinct, realistic and rather unfortunate answer: “reinstate the draft.”

I also learned that Matthews was a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, and that his first job on Capitol Hill – after “knocking on 200 doors”, was as a “capitol cop.” He had a uniform and a gun, and spent his days putting his life on the line guarding a “room full of papers.” Turns out those were the Pentagon Papers he was guarding. Matthews has spent 36 years covering politics, and it sure seems like he’s loved every minute of it.

I stood in a very long, very fast moving line to have my book signed. Matthews was personable and charming, even though he must have been in a hurry – he’d been invited by University of Miami President Donna Shalala to join her for a historic evening at the Orange Bowl. In the Miami Hurricanes’ final game at their home of 70 years, they lost - Virginia 48, Miami 0.

Now mark your calendar: next year’s Miami Book Fair International is slated for November 9-16, 2008. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Anyone going to the Miami Book Fair?

I am so excited! So many authors, so little time.... Gail Tsukiyama, Kristin Gore, Dave Barry (of course) Chris Mathews (is he really that loud in person?) Ralph Nader (is he running again??) Richard Russo, MJ Rose, Greg Iles, Vince Flynn, Tim Dorsey, Jim Born, Jeffrey Toobin, Jeff Lindsay, Scott Turow, the list goes on and on and on and on and so do I....

So who's going?

Miami Book Fair


I received this note from MJ Rose and thought I should share...

Dear Authors, Agents & Publishers,

Happy Fall! It's that time of year to announce that registration is
open for the 2008 one time only Buzz your Book class. January 7th to
February 8th, 2008. All online and in email plus a one hour consultation.

"The best thing I did on behalf of my novel was take M.J. Rose's Buzz
Your Book class. She's sheer genius. It's hard for me to imagine
having done it without her."
--Joshua Henkin, MATRIMONY (Pantheon Oct 2007)

This isn't a theoretical course. I work individually with each student
on his/her marketing plan. Over the six weeks, you’ll learn how to
write a buzz line, figure out who your market is and unique ways to reach
them. Plus we're once again featuring guest instructor Matt Baldacci,
St. Martin's Press Marketing Director.

M.J.'s Buzz Your Book class is an imperative for promoting a book in
today's marketplace.
--Jennie Shortridge Eating Heaven (NAL/Penguin, Sept. 2005).

This class is open to authors who want to augment their publisher's
marketing efforts with grassroots marketing and publicists or marketing
folks who want to brainstorm some unique solutions for special books.

Class size is limited so sign up soon at:

"I thought I knew a lot about online marketing before I enrolled in the
Buzz Your Book class. I was wrong: I've learned so much and come away
with a notebook full of creative, practical, and useful ideas and
action items that are now a core part of the online publicity campaign for
my book. This class is a real gem of a resource.
-- Natasha Kogan, The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living
(Hyperion, 2006)

And for all your other marketing needs, please write me at to reserve spots in AuthorBuzz, BookClubbing, set
up BlogAd Campaigns or talk to me about radio and TV campaigns we're
now offering. We usually sell out three months in advance and are booking
late January and February books and onward right now.


M.J. Rose
AuthorBuzz (
Buzz, Balls & Hype (

Saturday, October 20, 2007

J.K. Rowling outs Hogwarts character
By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

Harry Potter fans, the rumors are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay. J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall.

After reading briefly from the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love."

"Dumbledore is gay," the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down."

Dumbledore's love, she observed, was his "great tragedy."

"Oh, my god," Rowling concluded with a laugh, "the fan fiction."

Potter readers on fan sites and elsewhere on the Internet have speculated on the sexuality of Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. And explicit scenes with Dumbledore already have appeared in fan fiction.

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," she spotted a reference in the script to a girl who once was of interest to Dumbledore. A note was duly passed to director David Yates, revealing the truth about her character.

Rowling, finishing a brief "Open Book Tour" of the United States, her first tour here since 2000, also said that she regarded her Potter books as a "prolonged argument for tolerance" and urged her fans to "question authority."

Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.

Surprise! Internet actually a boon for books
Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:34am EDT

By Gavin Haycock

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters Life!) - So much for longstanding predictions that the Internet would crush the book publishing industry with digital readers and online sales of used books.

Penguin publishers said this week that the explosion in online and second-hand retailing has not caused the damage they were expecting and that the Internet has in many ways been a boon for booksellers as a tool for marketing, experimentation and reaching out to the next generation of readers.

The publisher, whose authors include former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, novelist Nick Hornby and celebrity cook Jamie Oliver, was rattled by the threat of fast-growing online auction giants like EBay but has discovered that unlike the music industry people still want to own a physical book.

"There is a lot going on in the music publishing industry that is not going on in the book industry. Consumers don't want albums they want tracks and in publishing people want books not chapters," Penguin Chief Executive and Chairman John Makinson told journalists during a briefing earlier this week.

He said that although sales of second-hand books, which appear on online auction sites shortly after release have posed a threat to hardback business as well as subsequent paperback releases, the impact has not been as great as expected.

"The used book market doesn't seem to have made the inroads into the new book market we initially feared," he said.

Makinson cited the example of a U.S. woman who bought a Penguin classics collection of 1,375 titles for $8,000 after her house burnt down. The woman was briefly retained by Penguin to help it research how people grow and manage their collections.

New research and experimenting are industry buzzwords.

Bloomsbury said last month electronic media was a critical part of its future business, having already entered rights contracts with groups like Microsoft.

Last week, Penguin's owner Pearson launched, a Web portal with video and audio book reviews aimed at and managed by teenagers.

"These are our readers of the future," said Makinson, adding that Spinebreakers also provides valuable strategic insight into how teens create and share publishing information via the Web.


Another Penguin project launched this month was a web-based novel writing competition run with Amazon and Hewlett Packard that attracted a manuscript every minute over its first days in the quest for a publishing deal and $25,000 advance. Amazon users will ultimately pick the winner next year.

Makinson said such experiments in digital publishing would help publishers like Penguin find new talent and learn about new manuscript filtering processes and online author communities.

Makinson said Penguin's sales via Web retailing in Britain and the United States, its main markets, accounted for around 8-9 percent of division revenues and were "growing quite fast".

Pearson, which also owns the pink-sheeted Financial Times newspaper and Economist magazine, is primarily an educational publisher with annual sales of around 4 billion pounds ($8.19 billion).

Penguin has invested heavily in mature western markets like the United States and Britain, but these are only generating book industry growth rates in line with national economic growth.

This has underpinned the drive into emerging markets like India where Makinson said 20-25 percent growth rates were achievable, China and South Africa.

Pearson, which publishers Rough Guides and Dorling Kindersley travel books has been digitally coding all its travel-related content so it can be used across mobile and Web applications. Makinson said the jury was still out on whether the enormous amount of travel literature via the Internet was depressing the market for travel publishing.

He said the genre was problematic for some publishers amid growing interest in publishing Chinese-language travel guides.

Makinson said there have been cases of publishers of Chinese travel guides not referring to historical events such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of peaceful student-led democracy demonstrators were killed by Chinese troops.

Penguin would "keep a careful watch" on this month's acquisition of travel publisher Lonely Planet by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British state broadcaster, to see how far it might cross-promote the business in the publicly funded broadcaster and thereby hamper competition, he added.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Doris Lessing was out grocery shopping near her home in London yesterday when the Swedish Academy announced she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature. She returned from the store to find a media circus, the wire services reported.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The first serial audio thriller... from ITW and

ITW and Audible are proud to announce the launch of the first-ever serial audio thriller... a collaboration between 15 distinguished international thriller writers who came together to create a single audiobook with each author contributing a chapter to the ongoing story.

With Jeffery Deaver opening and closing the story, and an author list that includes Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline, Joseph Finder, David Hewson, S. J. Rozan, and P. J. Parrish, The Chopin Manuscript is a unique venture that combines the cutting edge of downloadable audio book technology with the skills of some of the world's finest thriller authors working under the editorship of Jim Fusilli, who also contributes a chapter.

You can read more on our special mini-site here. And to go straight to The Chopin Manuscript home page on Audible, where you can listen to the first chapter for free and find videos of some of the authors taking part, and more background material, go here.

To read what some of those who took part think, among them Jeffery Deaver and editor/contributor Jim Fusilli, visit our new interview section here.

The Chopin Manuscript is voiced by the award-winning actor Alfred Molina and tells the tale of former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton who possesses a priceless, previously-unknown manuscript by Frederic Chopin. Within the notes of this work, which was originally found and hidden by the Nazis during World War II, lies a secret that has left death in its wake – and could kill tens of thousands more.

It is being delivered serially. Readers will receive a new installment of 2-3 chapters every Tuesday, beginning September 25th. Those who purchase the book after October 2nd will receive all the previous chapters, then get new chapters the following Tuesdays. The final, thrilling installment will be delivered on Tuesday, November 13th.

The authors:

Jeffery Deaver: Chapters 1 (September 25th), 16 and 17 (November 13th) – New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Moon.

David Hewson: Chapter 2 (September 25th) – Author of The Seventh Sacrament.

James Grady: Chapter 3 (September 25th) – Author of Three Days of the Condor.

S.J. Rozan: Chapter 4 (October 2nd) – Award-winning author of the Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series.

Erica Spindler: Chapter 5 (October 2nd) – Her new book, Last Known Victim, will hit stores in October.

John Ramsey Miller: Chapter 6 (October 9th) – Author of Too Far Gone.

David Corbett: Chapter 7 (October 9th) – Author of Blood of Paradise.

John Gilstrap: Chapter 8 (October 16th) – Author of Scott Free and Nathan’s Run.

Joseph Finder: Chapter 9 (October 16th) – New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia, Killer Instinct and Power Play.

Jim Fusilli: Chapter 10 (October 23rd) – Serial Thriller project editor and author of the Terry Orr series.

Peter Spiegelman: Chapter 11 (October 23rd) – Author of John March series.

Ralph Pezullo: Chapter 12 (October 30th) – Author of fiction works such as Eve Missing and nonfiction works such as Jawbreaker.

Lisa Scottoline: Chapter 13 (October 30th) – New York Times bestselling author of Dirty Blonde and Daddy’s Girl.

P.J. Parrish: Chapter 14 (November 6th) – Author of An Unquiet Grave. Pseudonym of sisters Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.

Lee Child: Chapter 15 (November 6th) – New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Library of Congress Announces Award-Winning Authors To Participate in Seventh Annual National Book Festival

The Librarian of Congress and Laura Bush Invite Book Lovers of All Ages To Celebrate the Joy of Reading and Lifelong Literacy on the National Mall on Sept. 29
SPECIAL NOTE: A media repository is accessible, for press to download background materials, high-resolution images, video and audio sound bites, b-roll and other audiovisual resources, as well as to request interviews with participating authors. This information can be accessed via the Press Registration link at

The 2007 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.

"This will be the seventh year of this extraordinary celebration of the joy of reading and the creativity of America’s writers and illustrators," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The National Book Festival brings authors and readers together to share the stories that touch their minds and hearts. Tens of thousands of book lovers see firsthand how reading changes lives and how our country, its citizens and its libraries promote reading in imaginative and inspiring ways."

"The National Book Festival welcomes all Americans to the National Mall to celebrate reading and meet with some of America’s most-loved authors from across the country," said Mrs. Bush. "Readers of all ages can discover the joys of new books and fall in love again with old favorites."

The 2007 National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from Distinguished Benefactor Target; Charter Sponsors AT&T, The Amend Group and The Washington Post; Patrons AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Contributors Barnes & Noble, the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union, Marshall and Dee Ann Payne, NBA/WNBA, PBS, Penguin Group (USA) and Scholastic Inc.

This year about 70 well-known authors, illustrators and poets will talk about their books in the following pavilions: Children; Teens & Children; Fiction & Fantasy; Mysteries & Thrillers; History & Biography; Home & Family; and Poetry. Festivalgoers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet ever-popular storybook and television characters and NBA/WNBA players appearing on the festival grounds throughout the day.

Participating authors include fiction and fantasy writers Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult, Harry Turtledove, Edward P. Jones and Terry Pratchett. The History & Biography pavilion will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy; Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward, authors of "War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945"; Michael Beschloss, whose most recent book is "Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America"; and ABC News correspondent and author Jan Crawford Greenburg.

Authors and illustrators of books for children and teens include Coretta Scott King award winner Ashley Bryan; Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan; 2007 Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm; 2007 Caldecott winner David Wiesner; M.T. Anderson, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; Gene Luen Yang, who received the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults; and Rosemary Wells, the recipient of numerous awards and citations.

Popular authors in the Mysteries & Thrillers pavilion include J.A. Jance, Lisa Scottoline, David Baldacci, Deborah Crombie and Stephen L. Carter. In the Home & Family pavilion, book lovers will meet, among others, barbecue king Steve Raichlen; Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta; and Cat Cora from Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

The newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic will be featured in the Poetry pavilion. Also participating will be Jack Prelutsky, who has been named by the Poetry Foundation as the nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate. Other prize-winning poets in the pavilion will include Kevin Prufer, Jon Stallworthy, Anne Stevenson and Diane Thiel.

In the Teens & Children pavilion, the national student winners of the Letters About Literature program will read their personal letters to authors who inspired them. Sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book with support from Target, this reading and writing promotion program invites young readers in grades 4-12 to write personal letters to authors, past or present, who have changed their views of the world or of themselves. Each year, winners are selected at the state and national levels. As the project’s corporate sponsor, Target awards the six national winners and their parents with a trip to the National Book Festival to share their winning letters with the festival audience. "It is inspiring to see the number of young people whose lives have been positively affected by a particular author or book," said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. "Through its comprehensive support of early childhood reading, including the Letters About Literature program and the National Book Festival, Target is helping to instill a love of reading in kids as the foundation for lifelong learning."

The Pavilion of the States, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will highlight reading, literacy and library promotion activities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several American trusts and territories. Representatives from the states and territories will welcome families and children interested in learning about writers and reading programs nationwide. IMLS representatives will also be providing information about its library initiatives, including the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians. The Big Read programs in the states, sponsored by IMLS and the National Endowment for the Arts, will be featured in the pavilion.

In the popular Let’s Read America pavilion, there will be a wide variety of fun-filled reading promotion activities developed by festival sponsors for children.

The Library of Congress Pavilion will feature a variety of interactive family-centered activities illustrating the depth and breadth of the Library’s extraordinary collections available online. Computers will be available for both children and adults to explore the Library’s acclaimed Web site at Information about conserving photographs and valuable documents as well as the Library’s digital preservation program will be provided. The Library will share the latest technologies in film and audio preservation developed for its new Packard Campus in Culpeper, Va. A group of veterans who appeared in the Ken Burns film "The War" will be interviewed by Veterans History Project (VHP) historian Tom Wiener. Other VHP programs in the pavilion will feature editors of the upcoming publication "The Library of Congress Companion to World War II"; veterans whose stories are told in the 2008 Veterans History Project Wall Calendar; and veterans interviewed for the last published book by celebrated journalist David Halberstam ("The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War"). The use of VHP materials in the classroom will be showcased in a program where a teacher and students will demonstrate how to interview a veteran.

In addition to planning a range of activities for this year’s festival on the National Mall, the Library is offering a variety of ways for people around the country to participate in the event online. This summer, the Library will launch the National Book Festival Young Readers’ Online Toolkit ( to bring the festival into libraries, schools and homes across the country. The Toolkit will feature information about National Book Festival authors who write for children and teens, podcasts of their readings and teaching tools and activities for kids. This interactive resource also shows educators, parents and children how they can host their own book festivals.

Available again this year will be downloadable podcasts of interviews with popular participating authors. The Library will also present same-day coverage of the morning presentations on its Web site. All of the authors’ presentations will be available on the Library’s site the week following the festival.

In addition to the same-day webcasts, the Library will again collaborate with Book TV on C-SPAN2 to televise events taking place at the festival. The C-SPAN2 Book TV Bus, a mobile television studio with a multimedia demonstration center for the public, will also be on the National Mall.

Leading up to the festival, will host a series of online chats with authors appearing at the National Book Festival. These text-based discussions can be viewed daily, starting on Monday, Sept. 24, on the site at The schedule of chats and authors’ names will be posted on the site and the Library’s site at Participants can submit questions in advance or during the live discussion. Authors’ responses will be posted while the program is airing or at a later date on’s online discussion archives. Washington Post Radio will also be interviewing authors prior to the festival day.

The artist for this year’s festival is Mercer Mayer, whose work brings a magical quality to the 2007 National Book Festival poster. Mayer will be among the authors and illustrators speaking in the Children’s Pavilion. Posters featuring his digital painting will be available free of charge at the festival.

The Junior League of Washington will again have hundreds of volunteers to help with the National Book Festival.

A preliminary list of participating authors, illustrators and poets, their books, and other activities in each presentation pavilion follows. For more information about them and the festival, visit

CHILDREN (sponsored by AT&T)
María Celeste Arrarás, "The Magic Cane"
Ashley Bryan/Jan Spivey Gilchrist, "My America"
Carmen Deedy, "Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale"
Mercer Mayer, "The Bravest Knight" and "There’s a Nightmare in My Closet"
Megan McDonald, "Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday"
Judy Schachner, "Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones"
Rosemary Wells, "Red Moon at Sharpsburg" and "Max’s ABCs"
David Wiesner, "Flotsam"
Jacqueline Wilson, "Candyfloss"

TEENS & CHILDREN (sponsored by Target)
M.T. Anderson, "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1"
Holly Black, "Ironside"
Jennifer Holm, "Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf"
Gail Carson Levine, "Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand"
Patricia MacLachlan, "Edward’s Eyes"
Patricia McCormick, "Sold"
Shelia P. Moses, "The Baptism"
Cynthia Leitich Smith, "Tantalize"
Gene Luen Yang, "American Born Chinese"
Letters About Literature

FICTION & FANTASY (sponsored by the James Madison Council)
Edward P. Jones, "All Aunt Hagar’s Children"
Thomas Mallon, "Fellow Travelers"
Sena Jeter Naslund, "Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette"
Joyce Carol Oates, "The Gravedigger’s Daughter"
Jodi Picoult, "Nineteen Minutes"
Terry Pratchett, "Making Money"
Jeff Shaara, "The Rising Tide"
Lalita Tademy, "Red River"
Harry Turtledove, "The Gladiator"
Susan Vreeland, "Luncheon of the Boating Party"

Diane Ackerman, "The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story"
Michael Beschloss, "Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America
Ken Burns/Geoffrey Ward, "The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945"
Jan Crawford Greenburg, "Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court"
David M. Kennedy, "The Library of Congress World War II Companion"
Michael B. Oren, "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present"
Arnold Rampersad, "Ralph Ellison: A Biography"
Meryle Secrest, "Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject"
James Swanson, "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer"
Douglas L. Wilson, "Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words"

HOME & FAMILY (sponsored by Target)
Ann Amernick, "The Art of the Dessert"
Cat Cora, "Cooking from the Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals"
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today"
Doro Bush Koch, "My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H. W. Bush"
Judith Martin, "No Vulgar Hotel/The Desire and Pursuit of Venice"
Joan Nathan, "The New American Cooking"
Nancy Pearl, "Book Crush"
Martha Raddatz, "A Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family"
Steve Raichlen, "How to Grill"
Victoria Rowell, "The Women Who Raised Me"
Patricia Schultz, "1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die"

MYSTERIES & THRILLERS (sponsored by The Amend Group)
David Baldacci, "Simple Genius"
Stephen L. Carter, "New England White"
Deborah Crombie, "Water Like a Stone"
Brian Haig, "Man in the Middle"
Carolyn Hart, "Set Sail for Murder"
Stephen Hunter, "The 47th Samurai"
David Ignatius, "Body of Lies"
J. A. Jance, "Justice Denied"
Lisa Scottoline, "Daddy’s Girl"
Daniel Silva, "The Secret Servant"

POETRY (sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts)
Francisco Hernández, "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico"
N. Scott Momaday, "The Way to Rainy Mountain" and "House Made of Dawn"
Jack Prelutsky, "The Wizard" and "In Aunt Giraffe’s Green Garden"
Kevin Prufer, "Fallen from a Chariot"
Jon Stallworthy, "Body Language"
Anne Stevenson, "Stone Milk"
Diane Thiel, "Echolocations"
Kevin Young, "For the Confederate Dead"
U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, "My Noiseless Entourage: Poems"
Poetry Out Loud

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Your chance to be immortalized in Rick Mofina's new thriller

Enter a global draw to have a minor character named after you in Rick's new standalone thriller, SIX SECONDS, coming January 2009 from MIRA Books.

For details go to one of the world's leading authorities on crime fiction, SHOTS. Go to the ticking clock on the bottom right. Deadline for entries is October 20, 2007.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Los Angeles, CA - 11 Sept -- The internet crime fiction review web site, has been nominated for an Anthony Award, to be presented at the upcoming gathering of hundreds of mystery writers, editors and fans, Bouchercon. The event will take place this year September 27 - 30 in Anchorage, Alaska.

The six year old site is a totally cyber entity. Its editor, Sharon Wheeler, works from Cheltenham, England, where she also teaches journalism at the University of Gloucestershire. The site’s founder and publisher, Barbara Franchi, lives in Los Angeles, which is also her home base for her travels as a contributor to the PBS series, Antiques Roadshow. The site’s reviews are written by a team of authors, librarians and mystery aficionados scattered across the U.S. and around the globe.

The Anthony Awards, named after famed mystery writer, editor and founder of the Mystery Writers of America, Anthony Boucher, are among the most prestigious in a genre that was once a quiet backwater of the literary world, but now regularly produces books that dominate the best seller lists.

Nominated in the Special Services category, the site presents twenty new reviews each week. It also features a commentary on the current mystery fiction scene and author interviews by Ms. Wheeler plus a complete archive of its past critiques.

Congratulations on a well deserved nomination!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Shocking statistics?

I was reading an article in the NY Times and came across these statistics, which I found shockingly surprising.

"...there are 78 million boomers — roughly three times the number of teenagers — and most of them are Internet users who learned computer skills in the workplace. Indeed, the number of Internet users who are older than 55 is roughly the same as those who are aged 18 to 34, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a market research firm."

So I have to ask: am I the only one surprised by these numbers?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Winners of the 2007 Hugo Awards were announced on Saturday during Nippon 2007, the 65th World Science Fiction Convention, in Yokohama, Japan:

Best Novel: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (Tor)
Best Novella: A Billion Eves by Robert Reed (Asimov's, Oct./Nov. 2006)
Best Novelette: The Djinn's Wife by Ian McDonald (Asimov's, July 2006)
Best Short Story: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt (Asimov's, July 2006)
Best Related Non-Fiction Book: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips (St. Martin's)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Pan's Labyrinth, screenplay and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Picturehouse)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who--"Girl in the Fireplace," written by Steven Moffat, directed by Euros Lyn (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Best Editor, Long Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Best Editor, Short Form: Gordon Van Gelder
Best Professional Artist: Donato Giancola
Best Semiprozine: Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong and Liza Groen Trombi
Best Fanzine: Science-Fiction Five-Yearly edited by Lee Hoffman, Geri Sullivan and Randy Byers
Best Fan Writer: Dave Langford
Best Fan Artist: Frank Wu

The winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines and administered on their behalf by the World Science Fiction Society: Naomi Novik

Monday, August 13, 2007

Young: Look who avails Chicks' controversial film in Waco

Cox News Service
Tuesday, August 07, 2007

WACO, Texas — In the Bible, the vision of a burning bush causes Moses to put down everything he's doing and to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

The charge of which I now speak is not so consuming. Still ...

Though I had earthly chores aplenty, I felt the call to stop everything and open a video rental store in Waco.

The store wouldn't be big. In fact, it would have only one section. Only one film, actually, and one copy of it. Low overhead.

That film: The Dixie Chicks' "Shut Up and Sing."

I was ready to rent it to you and yours.

Because, otherwise you wouldn't be able to rent it in Waco.

I'm not a big Dixie Chicks fan. Never purchased one of their CDs. But on PBS I saw the Chicks perform pieces from their latest album, "Taking the Long Way," and knew why the CD won five Grammy awards. I also knew why it won zero County Music Association Awards.

We all know what this is about: The Chicks' unapologetic opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The tempest that ensued, including radio station boycotts and death threats.

That's what "Shut Up and Sing" is about. The subtitle says, "Freedom of speech is fine, as long as you don't do it in public."

The firestorm started when, with the group performing in London on the eve of the invasion, lead singer Natalie Maines said, "We're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas."

You all argue among yourselves about that 'un.

My concern was seeing what all the fuss was about, and without plunking down $19.95 for a DVD.

I kept waiting for "Shut Up and Sing" to pop up on the "new releases" marquee at the video rental I patronize. When I asked, an employee told me that the store had abstained because of the film's controversial theme.

I tried to confirm this assertion with a regional manager. I found that getting ahold of someone who would confirm or deny this assertion was like asking to interview Dick Cheney without Fox News credentials.

So, I started calling a succession of Waco's video stores, mostly chains. No "Shut Up" for rental. Hmmm. I did find two copies for purchase at separate retailers. That's the $19.95 I had no intention of surrendering. What to do?

One problem is that I no longer knew how to contact my friend Jerry. He's the one-time convenience-store employee who supplied for me a copy of Martin Scorcese's "Last Temptation of Christ," in a brown envelope, back in 1988.

That controversial film was stopped at every port in our landlocked city — not shown in theaters; couldn't rent it; couldn't buy it; the cable company blocked it on Showtime.

Three summers ago when Waco theaters weren't showing "Fahrenheit 9/11," I tried to hook Michael Moore up with Jerry so that we in Waco could see what all the fuss was about. Moore liked my idea but took my middle man out of the equation. Sorry, Jerry. He sent the film to peace groups who cued it up in the Crawford High School football stadium parking lot before some 3,000 people.

Now here we are in 2007 with a similar problem, and no Jerry to facilitate. So deeply did I feel about the right of people in our community to decide for themselves on matters like "Shut Up and Sing" that I said to myself, "OK. I'm going into video rental."

I would buy the video for $19.95, and then would rent it to you and yours to recoup my investment.

I'm so happy to tell you I didn't have to do that. I didn't because I made one more call. I should have thought about it first:

The public library.

The Waco-McLennan County Library has a copy of "Shut Up and Sing." It will loan you that copy for free if you have a library card. This means I won't have to rent it to you. That's a relief. I already had enough on my hands leading various tribes out of the wilderness.

I told reference librarian Sean Sutcliffe about my problems renting the video. We speculated that this might be a problem elsewhere in America's heartland. Then he did a computer search for the title in other libraries in the country. Publicly supported beacons of free inquiry popped up on his screen by the hundreds.

What a country.

John Young is Opinion Page editor of the Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald.

Friday, August 10, 2007


According to the just-released Public Library Statistical Report 2007, Queens Library topped U.S. public library circulation with 20,223,787 items lent in Fiscal Year '06. Multnomah County Public Library circulated the second highest number: 19,589,530.

Preliminary numbers for the recently-completed FY 2007 confirm the #1 ranking and broke all previous U.S. records. Queens Library's circulation was 21,033,861.

Friday, August 03, 2007


August 1, 2007

San Diego, CA -- Multiple New York Times bestselling author David Morrell, creator of Rambo and father of the modern action novel, was honored with a surprise presentation of the legendary Inkpot Award during Comic-Con 2007. The annual four-day event, hosted by Comic-Con International, is dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms. More than 125,000 people attended this year’s sold-out event.

Since 1974, Comic-Con International has bestowed the Inkpot Award annually in recognition for outstanding contribution to comic book, comic strip, animation, science fiction and other popular culture fields.

Co-founder of the International Thriller Writer’s organization, Morrell is considered to be the pioneer of the modern action thriller. His award-winning first novel, First Blood, launched the iconic popular culture powerhouse, Rambo. Since then, he has written more than 28 books that have thrilled readers worldwide. Morrell’s blockbuster novel Brotherhood of the Rose was developed into a popular NBC mini-series broadcast after the Super-Bowl in 1989. His new six-part comic book series Captain America: The Chosen debuts from Marvel in September 2007.

The Inkpot Award was presented to Morrell during Max Allan Collins’ Spotlight Interview with the author. “During the interview, a Comic-Con representative came into the room,” Morrell said, “when Max stopped the interview, gave me a big smile and a wink, and said, ‘You’re going to like this!’. It was an utter surprise, as well as an exceptional honor.”

Recipients of the Inkpot Award include Collins (Dick Tracy, Road to Perdition), Ray Bradbury, Chuck Jones, George Lucas, Frank Miller, Steven Spielberg, Harlan Ellison, Matt Groening, Gahan Wilson, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Francis Ford Coppola, Mickey Spillane, Rod Serling and more.

Morrell is also a three-time recipient of the prestigious Bram Stoker award, most recently for his 2005 novel Creepers. You can visit the author at

Congratulations, David!

Friday, July 27, 2007

THRILLERFEST 2007: THE END (for this year...)

The beginning of the end has to be the awards banquet. It really is a thrill to be in a room with 450 thriller writers and their fans, and I was fortunate enough to be seated with Lisa Unger and her family. Lisa's book BEAUTIFUL LIES was nominated for the Best Thriller award, and she brought her biggest fans with her; her husband, his brother & sister-in-law to be, her dad, her agent and her editor. Her mom was babysitting for Lisa's adorable daughter, Ocean, so she missed the festivities. BEAUTIFUL LIES was one of my favorite thrillers last year, along with the winner, KILLER INSTINCT by Joe Finder.

My only complaint about the evening was the temperature in the beautiful ballroom. It was so cold, I don't think there was a woman in the room who didn't have her escort's jacket on. I brought my 14-year-old daughter along as my date, so we just huddled together for warmth. The centerpieces were a much coveted stash of advance reader copies of upcoming thrillers, all tied together in a neat pile.

Besides awards, the Killer Thriller Band performed, including Michael Palmer & his super talented son Daniel, John Lescroart, F. Paul Wilson and several others. The Killerettes sang back-up: Alexandra Sokoloff, Harley Jane Kozak and no-longer-a-blonde Heather Graham. The show included David Morrell singing a special tribute to ThrillerFest chair M. Diane Vogt, and Jeffery Deaver doing a funny-as-hell impression of Bob Dylan. The biggest laugh of the night came when Clive Cussler tripped over a few words during his introduction of the 2007 ThrillerMaster, James Patterson. He quipped, “You just can’t get good teeth on eBay.”

I have to say a few words about this year's ThrillerMaster. Patterson has probably done more for the thriller genre than just about any other author except maybe Dan Brown. He's worked with several authors who help him write his four books a year, and he puts their names on the books too, making New York Times best selling authors out of people you might never have heard of, like Andrew Gross and Maxine Paetro. I heard so many authors offering to be his next co-author that it became a sort of running joke all through ThrillerFest. People poke fun at his super short chapters, but no one can say the man doesn't know how to keep his readers turning pages. In fact, Patterson poked a little fun of his own at the banquet, which sort of ground to a halt during the presentations of the awards, joking, "They should have asked me about pacing."

In case you missed it, here are the 2007 Thriller Award Winners:

Best First Novel - MR. CLARINET by Nick Stone

Best Paperback Original - AN UNQUIET GRAVE by P.J. Parrish

Best Screenplay - THE GOOD SHEPHERD by Eric Roth

Best Novel - KILLER INSTINCT by Joseph Finder

ThrillerMaster - James Patterson

Sunday morning after the banquet was a tough time to have a panel. It was even tougher when there was a technical glitch. I went to "Love's Masquerades: Thrilling relationships with a dangerous edge" with Elaine Flinn as Panel Master. Elaine's next book in her Molly Doyle series, which I love, is DEADLY VINTAGE, and comes out in September. Authors Sandra Balzo, Jane Cleland, Carla Neggers and Joan Johnston participated in an animated discussion. But it didn't start out that well.

We were all getting settled in when suddenly a man's voice boomed a good morning into the room. There were no men up at the mics, and everyone was looking around and wondering. More booming voice, followed by Elaine Flinn questioning the voice, and we learned that it wasn't God speaking to us early risers, but David Morrell, in the next room. It seemed that the mics were somehow mixed up, with the mics in our room being broadcast into the next room, and vice versa. The women stepped off the podium, came down front and started chatting away, and all was good.

This was an interesting mix for ThrillerFest, and for me. Balzo and Cleland write traditional, cozy mysteries, Balzo's set in a coffee shop (UNCOMMON GROUNDS) and Cleland has the Josie Prescott Antiques mystery series. Neggers and Johnson write romantic suspense, with Johnson having a firm foothold in the romance genre. A brief discussion of traditional mystery versus thriller ensued, with the mysteries having no graphic violence and what violence there is happening off stage, so to speak. Johnson said that her books have a lot of sex and mentioned THE RIVALS, that she claims has sex on almost every page. She is a one woman book producing machine, somehow tying all of her books together, and we are talking double, maybe triple digits here. Neggers made what I thought was the most interesting comment; she said "Agents are the keepers of the readers' expectations." Her new book, ABANDON, came out in June.

What turned out to be one of the most popular panels of the weekend was called “The Snare of the Hunter: How writers and publishers work to get you to buy their books.” Moderated by Putnam editor extraordinaire, Neil Nyren, and featuring the always outspoken Tess Gerritsen, editor-turned-author-and-still-an-editor-but-at-a-different-house Jason Pinter, reviewer David Montgomery and St. Martins Press VP Matthew Baldacci, these folks told it like it is to a standing room only crowd that spilled out into the hallway.

David Montgomery was asked how he selected the books he reviews. His candor was refreshing. He said the newspaper usually wanted the popular titles reviewed, and it was almost impossible to get a first novel reviewed in his paper. He also said he does give preference to review copies that have actual covers over the more basic galleys with plain paper covers.

Somewhere I heard these magic numbers: there are 700 agents but only 70 editors that actually buy books; sobering numbers indeed. And speaking of numbers, this panel took lots of questions from the audience but there were some panel members - Baldacci, in particular - who shied away from giving actual figures. But Gerritsen spoke up and said, "They want numbers -- I'm going to give them numbers!" And she did. Numbers like she sells 3% of her books through, and fully one third through the wholesale clubs like Costco & Sam's Club.

Gerritsen also talked about money and how she likes her advertising dollars spent. She said she wants the bulk of her money to go to co-op, which is when the publisher pays the book store, like Borders or Barnes & Noble, to put their book at the front of the store. She says she sees her sales drop 70% when the book goes off co-op. She said that authors can get all their numbers from their editors, but it was important to remember not to shoot the messenger.

Someone asked how many books have to be sold to reach the New York Times best seller list. Again, Baldacci and Nyren - the only ones who would really have access to those sorts of numbers - hedged. But Joe Finder, sitting on the floor in the back of the room, offered that he'd heard that in a slow month, like January, a mere 7000 books or so would get you on the list. Someone else said they heard it was even lower, maybe 4000 or so.

Baldacci did share that St. Martins Press publishes 800 books a year. He also offered some excellent advice to writers. He suggested they should always check the flap copy very carefully. It is usually written by editorial assistants, who have been known to give away the killer!

I introduced myself to Mr. Nyren afterwards. I've been a fan of his for years, as he edits what sounds like the who's who in thriller writing: Clive Cussler, W.E.B. Griffin, Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, John Sandford, Patricia Cornwell, Dave Barry, Jack Higgins, and one of my favorites, James O. Born. He also edited Sheldon Siegel's series, which I loved, but is no longer. The next thing I knew, Nyren, Baldacci, Gerritsen, Shane Gericke, and a few others and I spent so much time chatting outside in the hall that I missed the next panel - and it was worth it. I got to ask something that's always bothered me - why do publishers buy full page ads in the NY Times for best selling authors like Gerritsen or Patterson. I feel like the new guys like Gericke need it so much more. After all, Gerritsen and Patterson are going to sell just as many books, even without that ad. But Baldacci pointed out that it's just protecting their investment. There are more books produced, so there is greater urgency to make sure they are sold. Which made some sense to me. Wish I could have gotten a picture of that group.

The final event of ThrillerFest was the Grand Finale Brunch, featuring a spotlight guest presentation with Jeffery Deaver. Instead of being grilled, Deaver took the mic and spoke about his life and his writing. He was eloquent and funny and heartwarming and altogether a wonderful speaker.

Deaver spoke about being a nerdy kid; not nerdy in the billionaire way of a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but pudgy and socially inept. Which I think also applies to those guys but I digress. He said he started writing poetry and submitted it to these publications that would pay him in "pennies" then force him to buy a copy of the finished book if he wanted it, for $30-40. As he got older, he turned to singing and songwriting, but found he was too literary to be a songwriter.

He studied journalism in school and got his first job as a journalist. But writing about 'the facts only" wasn't for him, he thought, "what's the fun in that?" Then he went to law school because "truth, accuracy and honesty were not valued there." He practiced mostly corporate law. But during all those jobs, writing poetry, singing, writing the truth and telling lies, he was writing what he loved to read: thrillers.

He set aside his first novel and decided to try another one to see if that first was just a fluke. Wrote another one, read the first one and threw it out. Reread the second one and shredded it. Six weeks later he wrote what he thought was the best thriller of the 1980s. Except it was rejected by everyone - including one rejection that was his manuscript returned along with his cover letter, only it was upside down and had a big footprint on it. His best rejection, he said, was a typewritten note that said that the manuscript was unpublishable. He was thrilled that they bothered to type it. And his next novel sold.

Four books later he was behind schedule so he sent in that "unpublishable" novel, just to buy some time. Except they loved it - same publisher that had previously rejected it, different editor.

Deaver also talked about his writing habits. He does full outlines, working on them for eight months or so before writing a single word of prose. And sometimes he ends up throwing the whole thing out and starting over. His latest novel, SLEEPING DOLL, had a 150 page outline with every clue, every red herring, every character, every exit. After that, the book only takes a couple of months to write. His favorite book is GARDEN OF BEASTS, which he said did well in Europe and won the UK's Dagger award. But Deaver says readers like series and he has very loyal fans. He sees no reason to do anything different. He's sticking to this genre, thrillers.

I haven't mentioned the auctions yet. There were two this year, one at CraftFest that was geared towards writers, and one at ThrillerFest. The two auctions raised thousands of dollars for literacy, and some very happy people went home with great prizes.

The ITW worked very hard to have diverse panels and to make them audience inclusive. Most of the panels had audience participation, games and giveaways. One of the nicest things they did was Author Bingo – conference attendees had most of the weekend to ask various authors specific questions to fill in their bingo cards, making for easy mingling. There were lots of great gifts and prizes offered throughout the conference, including advance reading copies of upcoming thrillers and the opportunity to win Sony e-readers, the iPod Nano, subscriptions to, and other prizes simply for being there.

For me, spending time with some of my favorite authors was prize enough.

Please check out my report on CraftFest, ThrillerFest 2007: The Beginning and ThrillerFest 2007: The Middle.

A much abbreviated version of this report will appear in the September 1 issue of Library Journal. Copyright © 2007 Cahners Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Reprinted with permission.


Saturday morning began with the eye opening panel called "Dark Secrets: The badder the villain, the more adrenalin junkies like it" - no caffeine needed here! The always funny James O. Born was the "Panel Master", a title he deemed "a little too S&M" so he decided to moderate instead. I was really excited about this one because I finally got to meet one of my favorite new authors, Robert Fate, author of the fabulous Baby Shark series. Also on the panel was the very bright and always interesting J.D. Rhodes, police officer/author Robin Burcell who writes a terrific police series and is coming out with a stand alone thriller called THE FACE OF A KILLER, Kate Pepper, and Mallory Kane.

Jim asked the panelists how they make their bad guys believable without making them caricatures and I liked Dusty's (JD Rhodes) answer a lot; he said, "Always remember that the bad guy thinks he's the hero." Rhodes also said he prefers to think of the "bad guys" as the antagonist of the book, while Robin Burcell pointed out that "antagonist" has 4 syllables, two too many for the cops in the room, so she was sticking with "bad guys." She added that she never writes from the bad guy's point of view because she finds it "more suspenseful not to show that much." Kane said that she likes to write "intelligent bad guys who can outsmart the cops - a worthy opponent," while Pepper says she just "can't get inside the head of a villain, it's too creepy!" Fate said he enjoys writing bad guys because "they don't have any limits." It was a really good discussion, partly because Jim Born is such a good moderator, contributing his own comments on occasion as well as getting all the authors and the audience involved. Born gave out a set of those plastic handcuffs that cops use, only after making the lucky winner swear she understood that the only way to get them off is with a bolt cutter!

One of my favorite panels was “The Art of Deception: Can you write what you don’t do?” moderated by Christine "I sailed from Fort Lauderdale to New York for this!" Kling, and featuring a couple of my favorite authors, Lee Child and David Hosp, as well as new guys Phil Hawley and Nick Santora, and Lori Andrews. They were all asked to tell something about themselves and the audience had to guess if they were lying or telling the truth. All except Dr. Hawley, a pediatrician, were lawyers and surprisingly enough, all were very good, shall we say, story tellers? Santora claimed that he was arrested for attempted murder during his junior year of college while on spring break. Andrews told us that she was asked to help set up laws in Dubai for cloning men only. Hosp said he was stabbed in the chest on the upper east side of New York City. Child said he suffered with learning disabilities when he was young. And Hawley claimed that he was the third test tube baby born in the United States. The only liars? Hawley & Child.

An interesting side note: SLIP & FALL by Nick Santora is the first book published by the new publishing arm of Borders Bookstores. Towards the end of the panel, Panel Master Chris Kling asked for ten volunteers to stay and chat with Santora afterwards. I was one of the volunteers, and turns out his Borders rep was there with ten hardcover copies of his book, which he personally signed for all his "volunteers". It was a lovely and generous thing to do, and I can't wait to read it!

I returned after lunch to a panel entitled "The Killing Hour: How authors keep us turning pages into the wee hours" that had an all star cast: John Lescroart, Robert Liparulo, Andrew Gross, Heather Graham, and Lisa Gardner. They all had interesting ideas about that, like Heather Graham who uses prologues to "grab the reader in the first few pages." Lecroart says "you have to care about the character to care about the plot." Gardner feels that "it's not the "what" that's happening but the "who" it's happening to that hooks a reader." She also says she likes to use romance to "up the stakes: - what terrifies anyone more than losing their own life is losing someone they love." When asked how she felt about killing off the main character at the end of the book, her response drew the biggest laugh of the afternoon: "WOO HOO! Oprah book!"

Graham shared that setting is very important and she uses Miami, where she lives, quite a bit. She told a great story about a man who was sentenced to death in Miami and was sent to the electric chair. Usually they shave the prisoner's head for that but for some reason, they didn't for this guy and his hair caught on fire. She said the headline in the Miami Herald read "Electric Chair Deemed Dangerous."

Gross thinks that "married sex is less compelling," but only in his books! He also talked a bit about writing with James Patterson. He said he learned to do a thorough outline; they usually average about 80 pages. He said Patterson would send it back with notes inserted like "a horrible death" or "a clue that solves everything" as chapters to be written. Andy ‘fessed up to being co-author of more Patterson novels than his name actually appears on, leaving readers with another mystery to solve.

I also ran into another James Patterson co-author, Maxine Paetro. I couldn’t help but ask how the process of writing together worked. Ms. Paetro replied, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” She did allow that she’d known Jim since his advertising days.

I was really looking forward to the next panel, "In the Thin Air: 2007 Thriller Award nominees" that included Joseph Finder (KILLER INSTINCT); Lisa Unger (BEAUTIFUL LIES); Pat Gussin(SHADOW OF DEATH), George Shuman (18 SECONDS); Jack DuBrul (SKELETON COAST)& P.J. Parrish (AN UNQUIET GRAVE). I was not disappointed, these were interesting, articulate authors and it was a lively discussion. They all shared some secrets, which I will share here: DuBrul says that while writing his first two books, he always wore a hat. Finder spoke Farsi as a child, Unger lived in an apartment in NYC that was over a pizza place, much like her character Ridley, and Gussin has seven kids and seventeen grandkids!

Finder is another author that really likes giving back to the writing community because he knew nothing about the publishing business when he got started. He told us how he wanted to write but didn't know anyone he could even ask about how to go about getting published. He was in a bookstore one day looking at some books, and was reading the author bio on the back flap when he realized that the author lived in his hometown of Cambridge, Mass. So he took a chance and looked the author up in the phone book, and braved a cold call seeking information on how to go about getting published. That author was kind enough to help, and they became good friends. But Joe doesn't want other authors to have to do that, so he tries to make himself available to any interested authors who have questions.

I headed over to the spotlight interview with Clive Cussler. James Rollins asked the questions, and Dr. Cussler told some great stories. He talked about how he came up with the name for his Dirk Pitt character. He wanted a short name, like James Bond, so he decided to use his son's name, Dirk, and needed a last name. He was watching TV and saw something about "Pitt the older and Pitt the younger" and thought that would be the perfect name - and it was. And the Dirk Pitt is the new version of the orange faced Doxa diver watch that Dr. Cussler has been wearing since the 1960's.

Cussler also talked about how he likes looking for lost ships, but he says when people come to his office, they're always surprised that he doesn't have all sorts of treasure strewn about. In fact, he doesn't have any, because he's not a treasure hunter - he thinks those people are "weird." If he finds anything, he just turns it in.

As far as his writing habits go, he says he always writes a prologue, and he always starts with a beginning and an ending - but he writes the middle as he goes. He calls the actual writing "a pain in the ass," but loves the research, and usually spends about three months on it. Cussler says he always thought of himself as "an entertainer, more than a writer."

Please check out my report on CraftFest, ThrillerFest: The Beginning and ThrillerFest: The End, for this year...

A much abbreviated version of this report will appear in the September 1 issue of Library Journal. Copyright © 2007 Cahners Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Search This Blog