Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Well, I'll Be Damned!

The story I wrote for A Hell of A Woman has been chosen for the Anthology The Year’s Best Crime and Mystery edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg.  The book will be published next year by Pegasus.

I couldn’t be more surprised or delighted.  I must get the word NO out of my vocabulary or, at least, keep it off my tongue and at the back of my throat.

BTW there’s going to be a book launch for AHOAW on December 6th at Partners In Crime bookstore on Greenwich Avenue in New York City.  It’ll start at 7:00.  A lot of the writers will be there including me.

Please introduce yourself if you attend.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


"Find a subject you care about and which in your heart you feel others should care about. It is the genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style."

 Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Hell Of A Woman

Remember how resistant I was? Why is it that NO is the first word that comes to mind when I’m asked to write something I’m not used to doing?

A Hell of A Woman is the title of the anthology. My story is Everybody Loves Somebody. Megan Abbott is the editor with an introduction by Val McDermid. The other writers are:

Lynne Barrett, Ken Bruen, Charlotte Carter, Christa Faust, Stona Fitch, Lisa Respers France, Alison Gaylin, Sara Gran, Allan Guthrie, Libby Fischer Hellman, Vicki Hendricks, Naomi Hirahara, Charlie Huston, Annette Meyers, Donna Moore, Eddie Muller, Vin Packer, Rebecca Pawel, Cornelia Read, S.J. Rozan, Zoe Sharp, Sarah Weinman and Daniel Woodrell.

It’s a hell of a group of stories and I’m proud to be included.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I’m back from my mini-trip, which was great fun, and it did, among other things, spark ideas.  I hoped this would happen. 

A few weeks ago  Patti Abbott suggested I take a ride on a bus and listen to people’s conversations to pick up ideas for stories.  I told her there were no buses where I live.  I knew what she was getting at because I used to do that all the time when I lived in NYC.  But, alas, it was hard to do that here.

My mini-trip involved both bus and boat and I was able to hear some delicious conversations.  And, of course, they gave me ideas.

I guess I should go away more.

On her blog today Patti raises the question of should you or shouldn’t you describe a setting in your novel?  It’s a good question.  In the Nineties I wrote a series that took place in NYC and almost every critic said that the city was as much a character as my people.

I did this in little ways.  And never more than using a sentence or three.  I see nothing wrong with getting your setting into the reader’s mind as long as you don’t go into great long descriptions.

I’ve noticed in some crime novels writers do things like this: ‘We turned at 4th Street, made a left on Kenneth and another left onto Clinton Avenue.  A few streets down we made a right at Van Ness.’

I find that strange.  What does it tell us? Nothing. If it’s a big city like NYC or San Francisco and the streets are real it might inform people who know that city where the action takes place.  But I don’t know what it does for those who don’t know those places.  And if it’s an invented city or town, it’s really meaningless.

But to describe your setting is important.  And it doesn’t have to happen through dialogue. A cleverly placed description of one or two sentences will do it and won’t slow down the story.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Mixing It Up

I’m no longer depressed.  In fact, I feel quite hopeful.  I have a few ideas floating around in my head.  Nothing concrete yet. 

I’m going away to a place this Thursday and Friday where I’m bound to get some ideas.  At least I’m getting out of here.

The fat lady hasn’t sung … yet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm So Short!

Actually, I am.  But that’s not what I mean.  I spent some of last week rewriting a short story that I’d written a few years ago.  And then I entered it in a contest.  I think I might be losing my mind.

Wasn’t it about a year ago that I said I didn’t like them and didn’t want to read or write them?  I think I have Patti Abbott to thank or kill for this.  Also Megan Abbott who asked me to write a story for A Hell of A Woman.

What I’m getting at here is that suddenly all I want to write are short stories.  I see the beauty of it now.  Not only in the form but in the time one has to devote to it.  And the almost instant gratification which I’m a great believer in.

Maybe this is what I’m meant to do right now.  Don’t care.  I’m doing it.