Jun 25, 2010

crimespree awards


It’s that time of year again when we ask our readers to nominate books for the Crimespree Awards. This year’s categories are below and you can nominate up to five books in each category.
Send your nominations to

JON(removethis)@Crimespreemag.com

By August 1st.

All books must be published in 2009

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR
This is for your favorite mystery or crime fiction book of the year

FAVORITE FIRST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Your favorite debut of 2009

BEST BOOK IN AN ON-GOING SERIES
Your favorite book that is part of an on-going series

Awards will be announced at Bouchercon San Francisco in October.

Jun 20, 2010

Guest Blogger - Karin Slaughter

As a long-time crime reader, I never thought I’d be able to juggle the intricacies of plotting my own crime story. It was such a daunting task that it never occurred to me to even try. Fortunately (at least in retrospect) my first novel that my agent shopped out was rejected by every publishing house in New York. After picking my battered ego off the floor, I read all the rejection letters and realized that they were rejecting the story, which was a sweeping southern tale of two families, not me. During a long conversation with my agent, she asked me what I wanted to do next. I told her that I’d always wanted to do a thriller but I didn’t know if I could pull it off. She gave me the best advice any writer can ever get: sit down and write it. So, I took time off from work, sat my butt in the chair, and nailed out the bones of Blindsighted in about seventeen days. I was on fire with the story and by the time I stopped, I could barely form sentences. I let it sit for a while, then went back and worked on the important things: character development, tightening the plot, making sure the story had a clear beginning, middle and end. By the time I was finished, I was so in love with the characters that I knew I had more stories for them.

I always think about those seventeen days when I work on any new book, and I was especially mindful of them when I set out to write Broken. Going back to Grant County was a bit like going back to your old high school after many years away. Everything looked so much smaller and dingier than I remembered, and the people had—miraculously—lived their lives without me. Before writing that opening scene with Lena, I went back and read her opening chapter from Blindsighted and was amazed by how, as the books progressed, she had turned into a very different person. In some ways she was also still her core self, which is to say, she was still capable of making incredibly horrible mistakes. As I worked through her story in Broken, I thought a lot about that person she was in the beginning and decided that people don’t really change that much unless something awful happens. That turned out to be the theme of the book: how people change and how they remain the same.




Jun 16, 2010

Latest Crimespree Editorial

I've gotten some wonderful feedback on my latest editorial for Crimespree so I thought I would share it here since people seem to like.


A day or two before writing this I got the news that Peter  O’Donnell has passed away. As the creator of Modesty Blaise he created a wonderful series with a female spy that was great entertainment, it was taken to the big screen and TV, there were comic books and comic strips and he was hugely popular. He was also an influence on a lot of authors. The man could not only write but inspire. He will be missed.

This news makes me think about how different the publishing world is compared to when O’Donnell first started Modesty Blaise back in 1963. He was asked to take his comic strip and write a screenplay, and then books based on the character. That’s a tie in book going back 47 years. There are still lots of tie in books published, such as the Monk books by the one and only Lee Goldberg.

So while many things in published seem unchanged there are a lot of things that are radically different.

Authors are expected to be all over the internet, using twitter and facebook and blogs to help sell books. But no one tells them how. So we get a lot of people who do nothing but try to sell on these social networks, which to me is the opposite of enticing for a book buyer. It’s a fine line between connecting with fans and becoming an overbearing salesperson.

Another big change is the e-book. No one knows for sure how it will play out, but it’s already obvious they are here to stay. But until e-readers become more affordable and the technology levels off it will still be a little while before they really truly explode. Numbers reflecting e-book sales are growing exponentially, but they are still a long way from overtaking hardcopy. And it seems like everybody with a keyboard is offering e-books, it’s the new self-publishing platform and I’ll tell you right now, e-book buyers beware. Buy books by reputable authors and publishers or there is no telling what kind of dreck you may end up trying to read. I will be getting an e-reader, but not till the prices drop and I can share books with friends.

Another change in the last decade or more is the amount of time an author is given to find a readership. Publishers seem to want an immediate hit novel. If you aren’t tracking huge numbers by book three, adios pal. But the publishers seem to be doing less for their authors. Less touring, less advertising, very little promotion at all. If an author doesn’t spend half a year pimping their work they might not have another book out.

The world of publishing is not what it was 20 years ago. Which is good and bad. Things need to keep evolving, but they also need to keep doing the things that work.

The best tool for selling books and getting people to buy books is still word of mouth.

So what can we as readers do?

If you love a book or an author tell people. Ask for them at your library, request them where you shop. Tell your friends.

As readers we are part of the overall process, we are the final stop on the publishing journey for books. We buy and read the books. We directly have bearing on the numbers. So if there is an author you love, buy the books and tell friends. The more copies they sell, the better the chance of there being more books from said author.

And to improve the chances buy the books from an independent store. They support new authors better than anyone selling books. They care about what you read. Ask for recommendations. They want to sell you books, but they want to sell you good books. The chains and websites just want to sell and they don’t care what they sell.

Let’s show support to the folks who keep us happy readers.



Jun 7, 2010

Back Issue Blow out

From now till the end of July to celebrate 6 years of Crimespree all backs issues will be on sale.
Buy two or more and they are only $3 each, including shipping. (US Only, Outside US we nave to charge shipping)

Some issues have limited copies left.



 
So take a look and see if there are any issues you need or want and drop a line to:
Jon at crimespreemag.com

Jun 6, 2010

Peter Steiner - article from latest Crimespree

This article runs in issue 36 of Crimespree
Shipping Monday (June 7)


DANCING NAKED ACROSS THE TOWN SQUARE
Peter Steiner

Clouds passed over the sun, sucking the light out of the day, casting the terrace of the Hotel de France in a sudden chilly gloom. The geraniums lost their brilliance. The umbrellas flapped uneasily in the breeze. P.S. set down his glass as violently as he could without spilling any of the Champalou—his favorite white--and squinted into the darkened sky. Not because he didn’t know what had sucked the light from the scene, but in defiance of . . . whoever it was that sent clouds to cover the sun on a perfect spring day. The cloud left as quickly as it had arrived, but P.S. remained unhappy.
He was in Saint Léon sur Dême, in the Sarthe, that part of France which tourists rarely visit. Besides the forgotten villages, the gentle hills of lush farmland, the chestnut and oak forests and the castles they hide, the small, provincial cities, what was there to see? What was there to do? Nothing. P.S. smiled despite his persistent . . . what was it exactly? Pique? Consternation?
P.S. set his novels—two were out, a third was coming-- in this very village, often on this very square. In the novels this corner of France abounded with crime and intrigue and terrorist cells. But being a novelist meant that—despite the mayhem he created for his poor hero, Louis Morgon—P.S. was by definition a solitary person. He abhorred actual mayhem and worshipped calm.
In fact P.S. was beyond solitary. He had not found his way to writing until he was sixty. And ten years had passed since then. Being old and set in his ways, PS did not see any reason to change just because he was writing books. He wrote because he lived essentially in his imagination, which made writing something like a continuously pleasurable trip home.
Before writing books he had been a cartoonist, an activity that is even more solitary than writing. A cartoonist sits somewhere out of sight and notes down in humorous drawings the ridiculous state of affairs as he imagines them to be. By comparison with cartooning, writing seemed, to P.S. at least, akin to dancing naked across the town square. Writers were expected to be public figures. They were expected to make appearances, to sign books and greet their fans, or someone else’s fans if they didn’t have any of their own.
“Dancing naked across the town square!” P.S. spoke the words aloud.
J. glanced at him and tried to continue her conversation with their companions. But she saw that he would not be contented no matter what, and she turned back in exasperation.
“Look,” she said. “It was your idea.”
“What?” he said in complete innocence.
“The book tour was your idea.”
“That’s a lie,” he said. It was something one of his characters might have said, and then un-said in the editing process. “It was their idea. They’ve been pushing me. I had to do it.” He felt weak and irresolute. He wished the cloud would return so that he might have reason to scowl again at the sky. But J. was right.
A month earlier, in a café in New York City, a far less lovely dive, in fact, than the Hotel de France or any other café anywhere in the entire Sarthe, P.S.’s editor had told him in no uncertain terms that his third book—she personally loved it, she said; in fact, everyone loved it, she said—which would be out in two months would likely be his last with her publishing house unless the numbers were better than for the previous two.
“The reviews were great,” P.S. said. “Publishers Weekly, a starred review. What could be better than . . .”
“Great reviews,” she said, “lousy sales.”
P.S. muttered something, but it was clear from that moment on he would be touring around the country in June. He would be living out of a small suitcase (provided the airlines didn’t disappear it along the way), staying in strange hotels with windows that didn’t open, or motels maybe, in rooms right beside the icemachine which made clanking noises all night. He would brush his teeth looking at himself in pointlessly large, blank mirrors.
Then there would be the airports, oh, the airports, those soulless limbos between the heaven of P.S.’s easy, lovely life and the hell of all that other stuff. Maybe he would get lucky and see some senator hauled off in handcuffs for tapping his feet in the men’s room. Even that thought didn’t cheer him up. He had sat alone with his head in his hands long after lunch was over.
The mosquitoes, the airports, he would be able to manage all that. “But what about the signings?” He tried not to wail, but J. looked at him as though he had wailed. In fact, she was not unsympathetic. She had been to signings with him, and on several occasions P.S. and J. along with the bookshop manager had outnumbered the people listening to his little speech.
Once, in Dayton, Ohio, he had signed books the evening before Shakespeare or somebody equally famous was scheduled to appear. Naturally, the public held out for Shakespeare and stayed home for P.S. There were customers in the store, but they were interested in other writers’ books. At the appointed hour no member of the public was there.
P.S. had smiled sheepishly at the store manager and apologized as best he knew how for the disappointment they both felt. “No, no,” she said bravely. “It’s fine. But let’s have your reading anyway, shall we?” She sat down in the front row of chairs. Her assistant, a college intern, read an introduction she had written about P.S, including flattering quotes from various reviews. And then P.S. read to the three of them—the manager, the intern, and dear J.
It had been sixty years since P.S. had been in the third grade. And yet reading at the Dayton bookstore had brought the third grade experience back with such frightening clarity, that his knees knocked together whenever it came to mind. In his mind’s eye he was delivering an extremely inadequate book report to Mrs. Pottenger.
Suddenly, P.S. felt J.’s tender hand on his own. “But what about Aluminium Steele?” she said. “Remember Aluminium Steele?” She was right of course.
A woman more or less P.S.’s own age had approached P.S. after a reading in a small bookstore in Connecticut. She had introduced herself as Aluminium Steele, and because the name was an odd one, had volunteered a brief explanation. Her father had been a Pan Am man who had loved nothing so much as progress. For him the word aluminium incorporated both progress and flight, that most progressive human achievement. And so he named his only child Aluminium. The English spelling and pronunciation added panache. Steele was her married name; her husband was dead.
“I read both your books, Le Crime and L’Assassin,” she said. “I read them after I heard you interviewed on a local radio station. Do you remember? You read an excerpt from the first and then an excerpt from a work in progress.”
“I remember,” said P.S.
“I was entranced,” said Aluminium. “I don’t usually read thrillers.”
“Well,” said S., “I think of myself as telling stories. Someone else calls them thrillers.”
“Well,” she said, “I was entranced. I could tell there was an interesting mind at work here, and so I bought both your books . . .”
“And they changed your life.” P.S. was uncomfortable with compliments, and he felt an extravagant one in the offing. He wanted to head it off before it arrived.
Aluminium raised her eyebrows and laughed. “No, no. Nothing like that. But they’re good books, the books you write. You said on the radio that the pressure was on you to write books that would sell better.”
“Publishing is a business,” P.S. quoted his editor.
“I suppose so,” said Aluminium. “But I hope you keep writing for the people that like your books, not for the others. Let them read . . . oh, you know. Whoever.” She laughed again and stuck out her hand. “Thank you for your books. I look forward to the next one.” P.S. took her hand in his.
P.S. looked at J. across the table. The sun was out for good it seemed. The terrace at the Hotel de France was full. He was with J.; they were with friends. And he was going on a book tour. He lifted his glass. “To Aluminium Steele,” he said.


Peter Steiner's new novel, The Terrorist, will be published by Saint Martin's Press on May 25, 2010. His first-ever book tour begins in June and includes:

June 3 @ 7PM, The Book House, 1475 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203
,
June 8 @ 6:30PM, The Mysterious Bookstore, 58 Warren St. NY, NY 10007

June 12 @ 2:00PM , M is for Mystery, 86 East Third Avenue, San Mateo, Calif. 94401

June 14 @ 7:00PM, Books Inc., 1760 Fourth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94701

June 15 @ 7PM Poisoned Pen, 4014 N. Goldwater Blvd. Scottsdale, Az. 85251
Peter Steiner

June 16@ 7PM Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX. 77005

June 19, Merritt Books in Millbrook @ 10AM, 57 Front Street, Millbrook, NY 12545
Merritt Books in Red Hook @ 2:00PM, 7496 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY 12571

Jun 5, 2010

Jun 4, 2010

HELLO KITTY MUST DIE










Angela S.Choi
Tyrus Books
April 2010

“Hello Kitty” – term referring to educated, well-mannered Asian-American women…..
Fiona Yu-  educated, well mannered Asian-American woman determined to kill her inner “Hello Kitty”.
HELLO KITTY MUST DIE; the best debut novel I’ve read this year. There is a joy about this manically sublime and entirely over the top book that’s hard to describe.  The only way I can explain it is to say I now believe I belong to a secret club.  This is the book to present the argument , “Good mysteries can be warped and funny”.
As the novel opens Fiona is working on downgrading her “Hello Kitty” status. This requires that she lose her virginity. What follows is perhaps the most commanding first chapter I’ve read in the last decade. Not since Vicki Hendricks found love with a dolphin has anything been as singularly female, shocking and accessible.
Cheated out of the rite of passage to “lose her virginity” , our heroine decides to reclaim the momentous moment with plastic surgery. She meets up with her childhood friend, Sean Killroy and an entirely different world opens up for her… this world is dark. Ken Bruen dark. How far does one go to decide who they will become in the U.S.A.? What price do you pay to become the real you? And if the answer to whom the real you is rather shocking do you embrace your individuality or once more conform to society’s ideal of whom you should be…..
BONUS to the above questions, how high can you make the body count?
In Choi’s first novel, I relived the experience of Tart Noir, remembered Richard Stark, found myself wanting to be in the room when Choi met Bill Fitzhugh and Val McDermid. And here’s the most important thing about HELLO KITTY MUST DIE. I found myself promising never to miss a book or a moment with this author, because the pages flow one into the other with a 1990s’ deconstruction and the Romanticism of the Golden Age. No one else could have written this book and no one else should
try to copy it. That’s some major talent for a new writer.
One of the most refreshing aspects of HKMD is the fact that it is a female world but Choi invites any reader who’s experienced Swierczynski or Huston to the party. So read the book. I’ll give you the password to our club. It’s Angela Choi. Remember the name.
Ruth Jordan