Friday, April 27, 2007


Stephen King honoured as "Grand Master"

Dick Donahue -- Publishers Weekly, 4/27/2007 5:44:00 AM

The Mystery Writers of America’s 61st annual Edgar Awards were held last night at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. Among the winners were The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (FSG/Sarah Crichton Books) for Best Novel; The Faithful Spy (Random) by Alex Berenson for Best First Novel by an American Author; Snakeskin Shamisen (Delta) by Naomi Hirahara for Best Paperback Original; and Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (Morrow) by James L. Swanson for Best Fact Crime. In addition to the awards, Stephen King was inducted as Grand Master.

The evening was not only one of the most pleasantly (some might say mercifully) briefest ceremonies in recent years, it was perhaps the most colorful, as well. Outgoing MWA president Janet Evanovich, sporting a snazzy titian hairdo, told the capacity crowd how excited she was about the evening’s theme, "Black, White and Read All Over"—because "I finally got to dye my hair this color." The invitations had requested "black tie with a touch of red," and a majority obeyed with a vengeance—red vests, bow ties, baseball caps, lavish gowns, a handsome red watchband and a spiffy red-sequined evening bag. Evanovich introduced new president Nelson DeMille, who proudly noted his 31 years as an MWA member and said that the evening’s assemblage "represented some of the finest authors in the English-speaking world."

The one-liners batted out by emcee Al Roker elicited well-deserved laughter, and many attendees praised his brisk pace. "Of course it was fast," said Grand Central’s Susan Richman, "he has to get up at four in the morning." Another audience favorite was Dave Barry, who presented two awards and missed no opportunity to display his customarily dry wit. (When one winner was slow approaching the podium, Barry broke into a chorus of "Feelings.")

The evening’s high point was the induction of Stephen King as Grand Master—one speaker wondered why this choice "didn’t happen 20 years ago." Barry and Ridley Pearson, introducing King, riffed on his "murderous" style: "Many critics were dismissive of his early work," said Pearson, "but those who are still alive have come to recognize his talents." King received two standing ovations—the first when he bounded to the stage prematurely, seemingly unaware that Donald Westlake was to present the award itself. Taking the podium, Westlake good-naturedly told the crowd, "I wasn’t born to be the forgotten man." King seemed amused by the many labels that have been bestowed on him (thrillermeister, et al.), saying, "I never called myself anything except somebody who wanted to be a writer."

Another of the evening’s stars, albeit an inadvertent one, was publisher Sarah Crichton, whose author Jason Goodwin won the Best Novel Edgar for The Janissary Tree (FSG/Sarah Crichton Books). Crichton accepted the award for Goodwin, explaining that "his publisher was too cheap to fly him over from Sussex, England, and now she deeply regrets it." She added, "I mean, this book is about a eunuch in the sultan’s court in the 1830s—who would’ve thought it could win?"

Alex Berenson, winner of Best First Novel by an American Author for The Faithful Spy, said that he would have been happy "even if the book hadn’t sold a single copy." In Boston while on his book tour, he explained, he met his girlfriend, who was staying at the same hotel—"so I want to thank Random House for choosing the Hotel Commonwealth." On a serious note, he spoke about his stint as a journalist in Iraq and noted the number of troops and reporters still there. "So please give them a thought and a prayer tonight," he said.

Best Paperback Original was won by Naomi Hirahara for Snakeskin Shamisen (Delta), who said that her mother was staying in the hotel, but "she didn’t want to come to the banquet unless I won. Maybe I better call her." The phone theme also surfaced in the letter sent by Matthew Graham, winner of Best Television Episode Teleplay for the BBC’s Life on Mars, Episode 1. "When I wrote this letter I hoped that someone would phone or email to tell me I’ve won. Hurry, do it now." After Graham’s letter was read, Roker quipped, "That was some long-ass note." The next presenter, author Alafair Burke, repeated gleefully, "Al Roker said ‘ass.’ Al Roker said ‘ass.’ "

Best Fact Crime winner was James L. Swanson for Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (Morrow), a national bestseller that spent 12 weeks on PW’s nonfiction list. Swanson told the audience that he was born on Lincoln’s birthday, and noted that last night’s ceremony occurred on the same date as the capture of John Wilkes Booth 132 years earlier. The Edgar for Best Short Story was won by Charles Ardai for "The Home Front" from Death Do Us Part (Little, Brown/Back Bay). Ardai thanked three important women in his life, the late editors of Ellery Queen Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, and his wife, "a better writer than I’ll ever be."

The Best Critical/Biographical winner was E.J. Wagner for The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear (Wiley). The Best Juvenile Edgar went to Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), and Best Young Adult was won by Robin Merrow MacCready for Buried (Penguin YR/Dutton Children’s Books)

Other winners:

Best Play Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure by Steven Dietz (Arizona Theatre Company)

Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay: The Wire, Season 4, teleplays by Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi (HBO).

Best Motion Picture Screenplay: The Departed, screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros. Pictures).

The Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: William Dylan Powell for "Evening Gold"—EQMM November 2006 (Dell Magazines).

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award: Bloodline by Fiona Mountain (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

The Raven Awards: Books & Books, Miami, Fla. (Mitchell Kaplan, owner) and Mystery Loves Company Bookstore, Baltimore, Md. (Kathy and Tom Harig, owners)

My Guest Author - Pamela S. Thibodeaux!

I've very excited to announce that I'll be having my first GUEST AUTHOR blogging with us starting May 1st. Her name is PAMELA S. THIBODEAUX and she writes inspirational romance fiction "with an edge!".

Her latest book, TEMPERED HEARTS, is the second in a five book series. You'll enjoy her visit, as she's an Award-winning author who's got lots to share about the writing life.

Please tune in May 1st and join us!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Love It When...

Toni Anderson isn't the only one who's discovered a fabulous author this week. (click on her link at right). Meet Chris Mooney, whose book THE MISSING is the first in a series featuring Darby McCormick, a Crime Scene Investigator with the Boston Police. Mooney's written three other books, and I'm thrilled to have discovered an author whose back list I can't wait to read...

CHRIS MOONEY'S website is a perfect example of what an author's site should be - informative, tells you a lot about him personally, his "road to writing", and gives you excerpts of all his books.

Okay, about THE MISSING. Darby and two of her friends witness a murder in the woods, and both friends are murdered. There's Darby's motivation to become a crime scene investigator. She has lots of other motivation, which Chris handles with the same ease as the rest of his subplots. This book TERRIFIED me! Think Stephen King...but in alot of ways (maybe because I love strong female heroines) I think Mooney's surpassed the Master of thrillers and horror.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone - but if you like being scared, love excellent writing, love a book series with a strong but also vulnerable heroine - grab THE MISSING. I can't recommend it highly enough! And I can't wait for Darby's next appearance. Mooney just joined my "Must Read" pile.

Monday, April 16, 2007

CJ Lyons - Author of Thriller Medical RS

You may have noticed that I've added CJ LYONS to my Links section today. CJ helped out with quotes for my recent article "The Arms That Hold You UP", in RWR. She's also an exciting, knowledgeable, and vibrant new author on the Thriller scene. Check out her website at that link, and her Blog. She's open to receiving medical question, as well, if you need some "reality" for your WIP.

You may also notice that I feature both secular and Christian authors in my Links. This is because I view excellent secular authors with the universal themes of justice, redemption, forgiveness, and love as worthwhile and appealing as excellent Christian authors. We all explore many of the same themes, put our characters through the wringer, and have them come out the other side all the better for having experienced their story.

I hope this answers any questions about my "straddling the fence"!

Blacksburg, West Virginia

I'm sure by now everyone has seen the horrific news on the massacre at Val Tech University in Blacksburg, WV. When I turned on the news this a.m., the death toll was at two, and the gunman hadn't been located.

The huge numbers of dead: 31 dead (counting the gunman), and 29 wounded is almost unimaginable. One wonders if there wasn't another gunman involved. How could one man shoot up a dormitory with that many casualties? And then return to another building two hours later to wreak havoc and death there as well? Hopefully, the investigators will be able to piece together what really happened this morning.

To say that our prayers are with these families who've lost their sons and daughters today, sounds like a cliche. We can't possibly know their suffering, or the immense grief which is sure to follow. But, I believe that prayer does help, even though we don't know the people involved. Prayer is something that's often spoken of lightly, when Eastern meditation, and other forms of "thought" imagery or activity seem more politically correct in this society.

Prayer is a way of focussing on a subject, such as the law enforcement officials involved, the teachers, the surviving students, the families, and the EMS/doctors/nurses who were all involved in today's tragedy. It's a way of upholding these individuals before God, asking Him to comfort them, bring about a thorough investigation, and to be with the families in the days to come.

Whether you believe in "God" as espoused by Christian churches, or a "Higher Power", our thoughts and prayers must be poured out to bring healing in the wake of this tragedy.

To all of my American friends and relatives, please know that Canada shares in your sorrow - in this kind of terrible event, we all share our humanity rather than nationhood. Personally, I feel such sorrow and horror that such a thing can happen, that it's almost overwhelming to think about. What else can we do, except pray?

The "psychopaths" and xenophobic "strangers" we writers dream up in our novels, have nothing on real life. When something like this happens, we can't help but think about what we write, why we write it, and how we affect other's thinking.

Do unbelievable tragedies such as this affect your writing? I know it does mine.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I read this story on SANDRA RUTTAN'S BLOG and just had to share it here, along with a link to the Petition.

In 1982, a beautiful 16 year old girl was picked up at a bus stop by an 18 yr. old man who brutally raped, mutilated, and murdered her by torture, and finally by smashing in her head with a 70 lb. cement block. Her name was DARLENE and her family called her "Dolly".

This murderer is now up for parole on April 17th/07 for his 25 yrs to life sentence. In Canada, I'm sorry to say, "life sentence" doesn't mean "life behind bars till you die". This man has served his 25 yrs and is now asking to be paroled back into the community.

I urge you to visit NO FREEDOM DOBSON - the website that Darlene's sister has put up to let the public know about this horrific crime. Please click on the "Petition" icon at the bottom of the page and sign it electronically. We only have 5 more days till his parole hearing. You don't have to live in Canada to sign the petition.

We can't bring back DARLENE, but we can try and help her family prevent this monster coming back into society. As a former police officer, I watched the video clip on the website in horror. This man will undoubtedly reoffend. The most sickening part of the video was the way he spoke about "MY victim's family." He still has the murder "personalized" and that means there's no remorse for his actions.

Please visit the website and sign the petition. It only takes a few moments and could mean all the difference in whether or not this man goes free to commit further rape/murders of underage girls.

And many thanks to fellow writer Sandra Ruttan for bringing this to light in our cyber-community.


***NB*** This article is taken from today's PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, and was not written by myself.

Kurt Vonnegut, whose books including Slaughterhouse-Five, Hocus Pocus and Cat's Cradle, made him one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, died yesterday. He was 84.

His wife Jill Krementz told the AP that he had suffered brain injuries after a recent fall in his Manhattan home.

Though he was most well-known for books written in the 60s and 70s, Vonnegut continued publishing until the final months of his life. His self-proclaimed last novel was Timequake (1997) His last book, a collection of pieces written for the magazine In These Times, called A Man Without a Country, came out in paperback this Jaunuary.

Fellow novelist and longtime friend David Markson (author of Wittgenstein's Mistress, among other books) told PW, "Kurt wrote for everybody. He was the first really important writer in the lives of so many literary people--they fell in love with him when they were 14 and 16. You didn't fall in love with Norman Mailer or even Herman Melville at that age. Over the years, it was heartwarming to know he was there all the time. This is a real blow."

Angela's Ashes and Teacher Man author Frank McCourt talked to PW about teaching Vonnegut's books: "Yes, I did discuss his books with the kids—especially Slaughterhouse Five and, especially, during the VietNam war. There was always great material in all his books. Then I came across a marvelous commencement speech he had given somewhere when he talked about some kids who’d been arrested for ‘high jinks.’ He told his graduating audience to go forth and engage in high jinks. I don't care what the critics say—he was always a good shot in the arm for anyone trying to write anything. He was to prose what Billy Collins is to poetry. You read these two and you say, Oh, I could do that. Then you try it and you tear your hair out."

Author Pete Hammill (his next book, North River is due out from Little, Brown in June) also has fond memories of Vonnegut and a sense of his profound cultural impact: "I knew him from the Village and I knew him from his work and I liked him very much. He was a very funny guy in a wry, ironical way—which is the kind I like. We had odd conversations because he loved comic strips and so did I. So we would talk about comic strips and how they made some guys into writers. And his politics, of course, were basically the politics that a lot of us shared in the ’60s and ’70s. You know, there was a combination of the war in Vietnam, something going drastically wrong with the society, and something going very right with it, with this younger generation. Of course he could talk about those things with the authority of having been bombed in Dresden. He had a sense of what a war really was like, not as some abstraction. He had been there, so his passion about the futility of war was genuine. So that gave him a certain authority during the ’60s that in a way continued for the rest of his life. No accident that at age 82 he had a bestseller, as a literary guy who didn’t apologize for being literary. And without any calculation he ended up still being a voice worth listening to in the time of another American war for our country."

The New York Times published a thorough biographical story today, as did NPR.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Reading Angela Elwell Hunt...

***NB I'm borrowing this image from Angela Hunt's website***

"THE IMMORTAL" is the first book of Angela Hunt's that I've ever picked up, I'm ashamed to say, yet I recognized many books on her website (see link to the right) that I've seen in the library and here and there.

"THE IMMORTAL is about a man who's lived on for 2,000 years from the time of Christ. He's here on earth to find the Anti-Christ (from what I've read so far), and is Italian and living in Rome. He gets caught up with the heroine - a jury consultant who's hired by GLOBAL UNION, which is the "peace-making" organization run by the man he suspects is the Anti-Christ.

Anyone who likes time-travel books, or "end of times" prophecy, will love this book. I'm impressed with how well Hunt carries out the heroine's life in first person, and the IMMORTAL's life in third person. Her descriptive ability is amazing - not the hint of a cliche anywhere. Her heroine is an expert on body language and reading people - she's called "the Seer" in the book - and you can learn much from reading this book on that subject alone. I know I have!

Angela's had a long career, but she's hit a high note with this book. Not too many "inspirationals" include "paranormal" elements, and she's never preachy. (I hate preachy!) I highly recommend "THE IMMORTAL", on it's own merits, and as an introduction to Angela Hunt's writing. She's stretched the boundaries, and that's what I like...what I'm trying to do with my own writing. It's wonderful to have such a good example to follow! :)

P.S. It's also been optioned by Columbia films. Good luck, Angela! It will make a fabulous movie!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


This is the heaviest loss of life since Canada joined NATO forces in the war in Afghanistan. It was particularly bittersweet and ironic that it happened on the weekend Canada remembered the 90th Anniversary of our victory at Vimy Ridge during the First Great War.

Two of the soldiers killed in their armoured vehicle were only 20 years old - during the Vimy ceremony, Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted that most of the Canadians killed at Vimy Ridge were between the ages of 17 and 23 years old. And yet, 90 years between these horrible wars, our young men are still dying for what they believe in.

A retired General and military analyst stated the purpose of the Afghanistan war so succinctly yesterday when speaking of these six dead soldiers. He said that Canadians are fighting in that region to take over the poppy fields (opium = heroin) that supply the money to the Taliban and other Jihad extremists. Many people in Canada think that this war is about "tribal civil war". It certainly is not - it's about fighting against the Islamist Jihadist Ideology that threatens the Western world.

This Ideology is as evil and insidious as Nazism, or the Totalitarianism that was part of the First World War. The only difference is that the "enemy" is less visible - we aren't fighting them in Europe as we did the Germans. NATO forces fight all over the world to combat this Ideology; Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the list goes on.

Let us all honour our fallen soldiers in all NATO Forces, and never forget the lessons of history.

For those who say that we "shouldn't be there", I can only say that you don't have a clue about current world politics. Be thankful for all in our military, and the agencies at home that protect us from terrorists and those who would destroy our way of life. We did it 90 years ago, and 50 years ago, and our soldiers are protecting us again. Let's support them in any way we can.

May these six families be comforted, and may their fallen loved ones rest in peace.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Top Five Are In!

Well, as I've been blogging about my journey in KARIN TABKE'S "First Line Contest", I thought I should be honest :) and let you all know that I didn't make the Top Five.

Apparently, there was a five-way tie for the fifth spot so Karin sent the five entries to a different editor to judge. What a close finish for everyone! Now the Top Five (you can check them out at Karen's Blog, above) have 10 days to get their query/first 10 pages of their MS to Karin to forward on to Hilary Sares of Kensington.

Congratulations to the Top Five Finalists, and good luck!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter!

Orthodox Christians say "Happy Resurrection Day!" to each other on Easter Sunday morning. This is a more appropriate salutation than saying "Happy Easter!, because Easter was the name of the goddess of springtime.

These two names have become interchangeable because we celebrate this Holiest of Christian events the weekend after the Spring Equinox, when the goddess Easter was celebrated with a Festival.

These are my favourite verses surrounding the story of the Passion of Christ:

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Luke 23:39-43 NKJ




I just have to do some SSP - I'm in the TOP TEN in the "First Line" contest at KARIN TABKE'S website. Check out her Blog page to see all the final Top Ten entries. (I'm #4 in the list, and if you read all the comments you'll see my new entry)

And check out her fabulous Book Trailer for her newest release SKIN!
It's one of the best I've seen yet and Stonecreek Media is obviously well worth the money. (no relationship - have yet to get up a website!)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Nelly Takes Over the Junos!

As Nelly is my prototype for my current heroine, I thought I'd throw up another great picture of her. She swept the Junos last night in all five categories she was nominated in. I think she certainly deserved it, considering her fabulous video work and the quality of her album "Loose".

Although, hearing my young DD singing the words to "Promiscuous" is a little off-putting, even when I like to see if I can remember all the parts and sing it myself!

Way to go, Saskatoon! The Prairies did themselves proud and produced a quality show for Canadian talent.

The only shame was Nickelback wasn't nominated this year, and some unknown young girl won "Best New Artist" over Melissa O'Neil and Eva Aguilera. Eva is an extremely talented singer and won Canadian Idol last year. Her voice is amazing - especially for a 17 year old. How such a "dark horse" won is a mystery. But, such is the way of all Awards Shows. We wouldn't watch them if there wasn't some element of surprise in the winners.

Check It Out...

In relation to my last post, Tess Gerritsen has a wonderful blog on how to write second drafts. You can find it at Tess Gerritsen's Blog. She makes six main points on "how to" and it's well worth a read.

Are you a "pantser" or a "plotter"? Right now, I think I'm relying on my plotting sketch to stick in another sub-plot, plus pump up my villainess. In the past, I've just sat down and let it fly. I think either way is good, depending on your WIP and what stage you're at in it.