Thursday, May 31, 2007

Closing the Month Notes

Whoa, sorry about that, guys. I sorta took a little vacation there. But it's still been my best month as far as blogging is concerned. I'll try to at least match the posts next month, although there's a lot going on, especially at the end of the month. Here's some updates:

- I went to a Cataloguing Symposium in NYC a few weeks ago for work. It hink it was good. We'll try to implement some of it this Summer.

- Then I came home and took my family to Cooperstown. We were there for the Hall of Fame Game (Blue Jays v. Orioles) and the festivities around it. My son was afraid of the subdued lighting, but I had a good time.

- A full one-third of all of Major League Baseball has been eliminted, by me, from winning the World Series. (Including the fact that my beloved Jays will not show up on this list). Here is the updated list and their elimination numbers (the number of combined losses by the team and wins by the Wild Card leader in each league).

#1 - Tampa Bay (104)

#2 - Kansas City (98)

#3 - Washington (99)

#4 - Seattle (109)

#5 - Colorado (103)

#6 - Texas (99)

#7 - Cincinnati (98)

#8 - Pittsburgh (102)

#9 - Houston (100)

I expect the first actual elimination around August 15. I can't wait to see who it will be!

Obviously, the biggest mistake was Seattle, which is now only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card, but it's going to get much tougher now, as the parity in baseball continues and anyone that goes on a run can put themselves in contention.

- I am now reading THE BLACK ECHO by Michael Connelly. A little more procedural than I normally read, and I was expecting it to be first-person, based on THE POET, but it's good so far. And the tunnel rat stuff is just really claustrophobic.

- The Guppies have not written back to me about membership.

So, that's what's going on with me. I am putting the final touches on my novel and I want some people to read it. I want to start the next one. Vacation at the end of the month. Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Back!

And better than ever. Or, at least, that's what Mike Greenberg says all the time. No, not about me, he just says it. Oh, never mind.

I've taken a little vacation it seems. It's been over a week since I posted here. I even missed my weekly chance to dash the hopes of another complete nation of fans by telling them that their team was not going to win the World Series. Y'know, like I did with the Pirates last week. Yes, the same Pirates that are in second place right now, a week later. No, I'm not going to take it back. That would be cheating.

But allow me to correct that oversight right now by telling you about the Houston Astros. They were waiting for their savior, Roger Clemens. But he's not coming. He's not. He's going for even more money instead, and getting it from the Yankees. They've got Roy Oswalt for their pitching and Morgan Ensberg for their hitting, but not much in between other than age. If they had Clemens, I might give them a shot. But they don't. Sorry, Texas, your two teams are now officially done.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Pits for Pittsburgh

This is really starting to get tough. I am eliminating a team this week who is actually two spots from the bottom of their division, but are no less, I think, fated to be sitting hom in late October. Pittsburgh is young, and possibly talented team. They have shown sparks of real quality this season and have hung in longer than I would have thought at the beginning of the year. But their time has come to an end. Hey, they had the All-Star Game last year, right?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I'm blogging from New York City. Work stuff. No writing. No baseball. See you monday!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Boy, Is My Stock Rising!

Marcus Sakey has signed a deal to release his 3rd through 6th books at Dutton, which you can read here. What this means to us (read: me), is that if BURN NOTICE is, indeed, picked as the title of his 2nd book, due out next year, then the character Jared Case will debut in the 3rd novel in 2009, with, I'm sure, a strong push by the publisher. With all that free publicity, it's only a matter of time before I just explode!

I'll be gone over the weekend, and it will be a late post on Monday, so you all enjoy yourselves, and go buy a book!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Wish That I Had Jesse's Curve

Now, look at this picture. Is that a face only a mother could love, or what? Well, for at least today, I love him too. His name is Jesse Litsch, and he is the starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays tonight. With 3 of the 5 starters set at opening day gone from the rotation, the Jays need some help. They looked down to their AA affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats to find it. There, Jesse Litsch was having a great year. He had compiled a 5-1 record with an ERA under 1, including giving up only 1 Earned Run in his last four starts. He proabably wont' stay on the roster, but for tonight, he's the Golden Boy.

But the more I find out about him, the more I like him. First of all, he shares my birthday, okay, not the same year, but still--The most famous person to have my birthday up until this point was Emmanuel Lewis. And that WAS the same year. But also, his Dad's birthday is today. He's going to fly up from Florida to Toronto to watch his son make his Major League debut. How cool is that? And his Dad is turning 57, which means he had the kid when he was about 34, and I wasn't much younger than that when my boy was born....

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he? So, come on everybody, put your positive thoughts out there for Jesse. Let's beat those Orioles and (woo) maintain our tenuous grip on 4th place!

Monday, May 14, 2007

And Sorry to You, Too, Kenny

The Cincinnati Reds are what I would consider a hard-luck club. They always seem to be improving one part of their game while a part they thought was solid is slipping away. Last year saw the emergence of Bronson Arroyo as a dominant NL pitcher, but the offense slid away. In the years before that, their offense seemed to be solid with Felipe Lopez, Felipe Crespo, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, and of course Ken Griffey. This year, neither seems to be working. They have a new owner, reportedly a baseball guy through-and-through, so there is hope that this can change.

But it's not going to change this year. The Reds are currently 15-23 and are 9 games out of a playoff spot. Now, this isn't an unsurmountable lead to overcome, but there are 11 teams ahead of them that already have a head start.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm a Sister!

I went to Malice Domestic last weekend with $200 in my pocket. I looked around in the book room, saved the cash till the end, since I didn't know where I was going to eat, or who I was going to meet at the bar. Whn Sunday came, and I still had more than $100 left, I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to be a Sister-in-Crime.

Sisters-in-Crime is an organization that was created in 1986 by Sara Paretsky, among others, to protect, promote and support women in the Mystery field. Since then, the organization has grown to include these types of services for all writers in all parts of the country.

So, for $40, I joined up at the conference, and I now await confirmation that I am, in fact, a Sister. One of the things that has been recommended to me by several people is to join a subgroup of Sisters-in-Crime called the GUPpies. They are the Great UnPublished. They provide support to new writers in feedback on query letters and manuscripts, as well as creating a large pool of knowledge and experience from which to draw.

I have great hope for the future and will keep you updated on how everything works out.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It’s a Curse

You think it’s fun having an over-active imagination? I was driving in fear half the way back to New York on Sunday, wondering what had happened to my wife. I had talked to her on Friday night, when she told me she had to break into our house (I won’t tell you how). So, I was already worrying about what might happen while she was asleep. But then I left her with my car, which last week was making unsettling noises when I was backing up and breaking, which is why I took her car for the 800-mile trip. Then she tells me there are teens smoking and building fire pits in the woods behind our house. So, when I get to “North of Gettysburg” Pennsylvania and my debit card is declined at the gas pump, and I call Julie on the Phone Card and she’s not at home, I start to get a little worried.

At first I was worried about the house. I know that Julie fixed what she needed to on Saturday, but I also now knew what was possible. And what if other people did, too? Then I was worried about the car. I knew she and the boy were going to the Zoo that morning. Maybe I left them in a death trap waiting to happen and my car was what did it to them.

That took about 90 minutes. Then I pulled off again to call and see if she was home yet. No answer. Now I was really worried. New possibilities began to form in my head. Maybe the government had her. I had spent that hour lost in and around Washington. Were there cameras capturing and comparing license plates in that area? Was it suspicious that this car was driving around, past the Washington Monument, with no seeming purpose? Had they frozen my accounts? Had they tracked the address through a national DMV registry and were holding her right now, listening to the answering machine as I left the message, lying in wait for me to come home so they could nab me and question me?

I drove the rest of the way without stopping. I made it home a little after 7pm. Everyone (except for me) was fine. They had been napping, or playing outside. The debit glitch was at the gas station, not at the bank. I had spent all that time in nervous worry, all for naught…

Or was it?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Name Dropping

Writers’ conferences are one of those great places where you can meet people who you’ve only seen as names on book covers, or read about on the internet. You mingle with them at functions and get to talk to them one-on-one and ask them questions. Which they’ll answer! You’ll nod to them as you’re walking down the hall and wave to them from across the room. Here are some of my favorite examples from the last weekend:

- It was wonderful to meet the very Canadian Louise Penny and Vicky Delany at the Malice-Go-Round.

- Jacqueline Winspear is not only a great writer, but a gracious and lovely person.

- I spent Friday night at the bar with Bob Walker, Charles Benoit and Mary Dereske.

- I enjoyed telling Judy Clemens about Lorraine Bartlett’s dishwasher, mostly because I like her laugh.

- Julia Spencer-Fleming knows about Upstate New York

- Joyce and Jim Lavene were great hosts at our table during the Agatha Awards. They had great advice for newer writers and interesting insight into the publishing world as it is now.

- Jacky Sach was also at our table.

- I talked to Troy Cook about his book and the interest in making it into a film.

- I was proud to have voted for Toni Kelner on her Best Short Story win.

- Alexandra Sokoloff is just plain cool.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Malicious Retort

As I may have mentioned, I attended Malice Domestic this weekend. As the only other Mystery writers’ conference I’ve attended was Bouchercon in Madison, comparisons were inevitable. The verdict: Malice is a much more laid-back conference. It’s not quite as big and not quite as hectic. It feels like a conference geared more toward the fan, as Bouchercon felt like it was as much for the writers as for the fans, and Sleuthfest seems to be at the other end of the spectrum, geared more toward the writer. There was a lot of fun, entertaining and educational stuff. Like:

- Malice-Go-Round: Dozens of authors have 90 seconds each to sell you their book. They'll give you a totem to remember it by. It'll be available in the book room.

- Theater of the Air: Live mystery radio is back in this silly sketch performed on stage by the authors.

- The Poison Lady: She'll tell you she can kill you with just a few drops. And how long it will take.

- Lifetime Achievement interview: Even I've read a book by Carolyn Hart. It's always fascinating to hear about the history and work practices of someone who has achieved both success and longevity. Gracious woman, fascinating interview.

- The Agatha Awards: I'm glad I brought the black jacket. That way I didn't feel too underdressed as the fans celebrated their favorites of the year. My votes went 3-for-5.

- Charles Benoit: If he's on a panel, and especiall if he's moderating one, you've got to be there. It will be a fun time, you'll get something that is not your standard panel and meet interesting people in the process, and there are usually prizes involved.

- Panel on Diverse Characters: Rochelle Krich moderated this panel on people who write characters that highlight a diversity in crime fiction. The panel included Laura Lippman, SJ Rozan and Frankie Bailey. Really good stuff.

My mood as I left the conference, got lost in and around DC for about an hour, and started the 7-hour trip home, however, was dark. It was no one's fault but my own, and this is the only time I'll bring it up. But I didn't fit in. I haven't read enough of these authors to be able to appreciate everything that was going on, and I wasn't exactly an author yet. I knew some of them and talked to some of them, but I wasn't one...yet. I was angry at myself, because no one can control that situation more than I can myself. I have to write to have something to sell. I have to write to improve my writing.

I have to write...

Monday, May 7, 2007

I Mean, Come On...

$1 Million per start. That's approximately what Roger Clemens will be pulling in this summer as a member of the New york Yankees. His contract actually says $28 million per year, but that is pro-rated for the 4 months he'll actually pitch, meaning he will get about $18.5 million before taxes. A top starter gets about 30 starts per year, so take away a third of the season, and Roger will be expected to make about 20 starts this year. Guh. If I were a Yankee fan, which I am not, I would be expecting a win each time this guy took the mound. And for a 45-year-old guy who has spent the last 3 years in the National League, I don't think he's going to get one every time out.

I'd look like this, too, if I had so much pressure on me:

All the fans expect is a World Series...
No problem.

And can we not talk about the Blue Jays? What's worse than having Roger Clemens back in the division? The fact that even without facing him on a regular basis yet, the Jays still can't beat anybody. I don't know the last time the Jays suffered two straight series sweeps, and I don't want to. I'll forget this week ever happened as soon as I can. I need to take my frustration out on somebody:

How about the Texas Rangers? They just swept the Jays and now have the same poor record as the Jays and are just as far out of a playoff spot. This is the second of four teams I have eliminated from the AL West, which leaves only Oakland and Anaheim as possible winners from this division. But, given recent history, that's not such a bad call. They had high hopes of rehabilitating some great careers in the likes of Sammy Sosa and Eric Gagne. It hasn't quite worked out for them yet. And probably won't this year. Bye bye Lone Star, it was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Malicious Intent

Well, the time is finally here. Late today (okay, okay, REALLY early tomorrow) I will be driving down to Arlington, Virginia for my first taste of Malice Domestic. It will be the first conference I've gone to since I completed the first draft and the first since Bouchercon in Madison last year. Let me tell you, if it's half as much fun as Bouchercon, it's money well-spent.

You can't really go wrong with the entertainment value of any of the panels at this type of event, the authors seem to bring out the best in each other, and, believe me, the more the merrier. In particular, I am looking forward to the old-time radio-themed Theater of the Air on Friday night and the "It's a Man's World" panel on Saturday morning.

Some of the authors I'm looking forward to talking to/meeting/seeing again are (in alphabetical order): Donna Andrews, Charles Benoit, Judy Clemens, Barbara D'Amato, Vicki Delany, Michael Dymmoch, Barbara Hambly, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Joyce and Jim Lavene, David Skibbins, and Jacqueline Winspear.

There are also authors I wish were going to be there that will be sorely missed (and this is just the list based on who I think would fit in here!): Lorraine Bartlett, Terence Faherty, Harley Jane Kozak, Sujata Massey, PB Ryan.

I'm sure I'll think of more people I'll miss once I get there, but already it sounds like a very full weekend. But, bolstered by yet another person saying good words about me before the weekend starts, I have high hopes and plan to make the most of it. Geez, I hope I get enough sleep...

Bah, I can sleep when I'm dead.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Sakey Update

I got the book today and it looks great. It got delivered into my mailbox and other co-workers besides Dan were asking me about it before it was even open.

Note to self: Find out how Marcus does that cool origami thing with the packing material. Nice Presentation.

I waited until there were about 4 people around before opening it and they were all duly impressed. Marcus dropped a nice note on the title page and even signed it on his birthday! This is going near the top of my TBR pile, adjusted for what I get at Malice Domestic this weekend. But more on that tomorrow.

Marcus was nice enough to drop a note on the last entry and the gauntlet has been thrown down to Dan to come up with another intriguing title for his next book. Stay tuned - Things could get interesting...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Of Contests and Discontent

Marcus Sakey recently had a contest on both of his blogsites, The Outfit and Killer Year. It seems he was having trouble coming up with a name for his second book, due out next year. You can read the post to get an idea of what the book will be like. Anyway, I sent in a couple of ideas, Marcus liked one, and BAM!, now I get a cool signed UK edition of The Blade Itself.

Everything’s groovy, right? Well, I happened to mention my excitement to mystery fan/blogger Dan Wagner of The Hungry Detective. He was happy for me and supportive. Initially. But then, as a regular reader of his blog, I find that I have been publicly maligned by said Wagner. Just because I increased my odds by NOT telling him about the contest. Well, my friend, mystery novels are a tough world. If you can’t live in it, you can watch from the outside. And allow me to return your scorn:

You, sir, are a doo-doo-head.

But you should still read his blog anyway. Besides, he’s already given me the title for one of my books: Cagey (KG)Bastards. When this book will be written, let alone published, is anyone’s guess. But the title’s there, and the idea. And then he goes and says something nice about me... What's a guy to think?

And while you're at it, go out and get Marcus' book. And his next one, too. No matter what it ends up being called...