Dec 27, 2005

Here comes 2006

Can you here it? That rumbling noise is 2006 just waiting to poke out it's head.

2005 was pretty good with the exception of my Father's health. However 2006 looks like it will be great.

So New Year's Eve....
Ruth and I are long past the thrill of crowded bars and restraunts on this insane night so we are staying home and watching movies and eating homemade pizza.

We have a stack of new DVDs to view including a warped little show called PROFIT that just came out on disc.
So what are you doing to ring in the New Year?

Dec 21, 2005

joy of the season

I saw my wife toss a copy of The Rockford Files season 1 into our cart ay Best Buy.
I tried to be casual and cool and not notice.

The we got home and she wrapped it and wrote her Dad's name on it.


Santa? I still need the Rockford Files dude!

Dec 16, 2005

Twas The Week Before Christmas

and all though our house
every creature is stirring
of that have no doubt

What happened to 2005
Where has it gone?
It just started last week and now it's out.

This year has flown by in flurry of days leaving behind a blur of memories. Everytime I get a copy of Crimespree off to th printre it seems like another deadline is on me, Instead of our usual slowdown at Jordan Machinery we are getting busier and I'm working more. We have had more snow this winter already than we did all of last winter. I'm just starting to think about shopping and the big day is only a week away!

We did a lot this year. Two trips to Baltimore for me, three for Ruth. We went to New York, Chicago three times, Omaha, Munster Indiana. Muncie Indiana and a couple other places that escape me at the moment.

We've had ups and downs. Jennifer got her first check for writing. The magazine keeps doing better and better. THe family business id picking up and Ruth got a promotion.

And though my Dad was really doing poorly for quite a while, things are looking a bit up again. Fingers crossed.

It looks like we might have a weekend all to ourselves in about three weeks. This will be one of four this year. No complaints because we had a wonderful time with everyone we saw and did things with. But boy, we sure seems to be spending a lot less time doing nothing.

We did see Aerosmith the other night. That was really great. Rick Neilson from Cheap Trick joined them on stage for a song. In the Dictionary under Rock and Roll it should say "play Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith".

Ok, I'm off to drop off Ruth, go to work, run to the bank, the post office and then shopping, pick up Ruth do more shopping then come home and clean and write some reviews.....

Must make more coffee.....

Dec 11, 2005


We asked for votes and we got them.
It was really close this year but we have our winners.
At the Crimespree party at the next Bouchercon we'll be handing plaques to:
John Galligan for BLOODKNOT
and Lee Child for ONE SHOT

The winners:
Favorite Book Of the Year:

John Galligan – BLOODKNOT

Michael Connelly - THE LINCOLN LAWYER
John Connolly – BLACK ANGEL
Laura Lippman – POWER OF THE THREE
Duane Swierczynski – THE WHEELMAN
Lee Child – ONE SHOT
Reed Farrel Coleman – THE JAMES DEANS
Michael Connelly – THE CLOSERS
Zoë Sharp – FIRST DROP.
Don Winslow – POWER OF THE DOG
Charlie Huston – SIX BAD THINGS
Simon Kernick – A GOOD DAY TO DIE
William Kent Krueger – MERCY FALLS
Mark Billingham – BURNING GIRL
Blake Crouch – LOCKED DOORS
James Sallis – DRIVE

Best Contribution to an Ongoing Series

Lee Child – ONE SHOT

Barry Eisler – KILLING RAIN
3rd –
Michael Connelly – THE CLOSERS
Blake Crouch – LOCKED DOORS
Simon Kernick – A GOOD DAY TO DIE
William Kent Kreuger – MERCY FALLS
Karin Slaughter – FAITHLESS
John Sanford – BROKEN PREY

There were an awful lot of great books this year and voting was close. Thanks to every one who voted!

Dec 8, 2005

It's a typical winter day

And to prove me right, I woke up to sounds from my wife commenting on the joys of a water heater which does not heat water. As it turns out my plans for work today were changed a bit.....

It seems like issue # 9 of Crimespree finally showed up. The postoffice claims freakish amounts of catalogs were the reason for the delay, I do't care I just don't want it to happen again. #10 being laid out as we speak, last minute tweaking and reviewing abound.

I have done no xmas shopping yet. None.

We were in New York last week as you may have summised from Ruth's post.

What to get fo my wife....hmmmmmmm

The Art Bar

Xmas in Manhatten, too cool. Ask the funny man by the lingere store, he'll tell you how great it is.

We arrive Wed Nov 30th, and headed toward Rockafeller Center, were turned away due to monstous crowds for the tree lighting, we ate at Planet Hollywood in Times Sqaure and watched it on TV. The food was crap, but not all that expensive. Pretty bland menu for such a hot chain.
Thursday we walked, alot, and shopped. FAO Shwartz is really great and the whole day was fun. W even stopped at The Strand. Holy Shit do they have a lot of books.That night we went to The Art Bar to meet some friends, including Reed Coleman and Michel Martinez who are in the picture, also there were Margery Flax and her husband, Chris Grabbenstien, Gabriel Cohen,Lauren Henderson, Dave White, Mary Reagan, Sarah Weinman, Jason Starr, Ben (wide awake) Leroy and a number of other people. A wonderful time was had by all. At least that's what they said...

Friday, coffee with Keith Snyder. Did you know that New York has Starbucks? Ever two freaking blocks they have Starbucks! Any way, it was great to see Keith. Then off to lunch with Maggie Griffin and Alafair Burke, followed by a trip to Partners In Crime bookstore. That night w had dinner with SJ Rozan and went to see the play Coronado. Wonderful evening. And if those two old people whose doorbell I rang read this, sorry I scared you....

Saturday, souvenier shopping and book shopping at Partners. Also great hot dogs. Then off to the arport and home to bed.

Eveyone one was nice except one freak who screamed at us from a car. As it turned out, it was Reed.....

I want to go back when it's warm.

Dec 4, 2005


Theatre can be magical. The Invisible City Theatre Company production of CORONADO is just that. It is also the most intimate and visceral experience I’ve had at a play in years.

A small stage on MacDougal. A Honky-Tonk. The waitress reads a book between customers. Enter Will and Gina, our first duo. And immediately the audience is transported to another reality by director David Epstein and the Invisible City Theatre Company. Two hours of eavesdropping upon a series of conversations. Lust and dreams, evil and regret.

The cast is to member unforgettable. The unfolding story is impossible to take your eyes off of. The sparseness of the production adds to the strength of the play. The palpable hunger between actors Lance Rubin and Rebecca Miller gives way to the sadly contemporary and sexually complicated relationship between Kathleen Wallace and Jason MacDonald. When players Gerry Lehane and Avery Clark take the stage they command your attention. Their hatred is peeled away one layer at a time until all that is left is a climax both inevitable and heartbreaking. Dan Patrick Brady’s portrayal of Hal is letter perfect. Maggie Bell’s Gwen is a brilliant mixture of youthful strength and worldly naiveté. An intelligent, passionate, often desperate and sometimes humorous evening of theatre. CORONADO is not to be missed.

Novelist Dennis Lehane has written fantastic raw material. Known in the literary world for his ability to do dialog like no other and use that dialog to forward plot, the jump to playwright has proven seamless. David Epstein has taken a terrific cast and left his stamp as a director on that material with a signature that will be hard to match. With a Florida production in the works, and film rights sold Coronado may well change but the theatre on MacDougal has proven it doesn’t need to.

Artistic Directors Elizabeth Horn, Maggie Bell and David Epstein possess a creative energy that must be nurtured and watched. I strongly suggest that everyone who enjoys an evening of great theatre follow this Company. They’ve got a lot to say and they need to be heard.
Visit ICTC at
  • Invisible Theatre Company
  • and read more about Coronado at
  • Coranado The Play
  • Nov 16, 2005

    The Kingdom - DVD contest

    Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom: Series One
  • Kochlerfilms

  • Acclaimed director Lars von Trier (Dogville) delves into the world of the supernatural with The Kingdom. A hospital known as The Kingdom is the setting for a number of uncanny occurrences and hides many strange occurrences including a ghostly ambulance that appears and disappears, the voice of a little girl calling to a patient in an elevator shaft and a fetus growing at an alarming rate.

    Check out some clips here:
  • Girl Ghost Clip

  • Recording Clip

  • Check out the details here:
  • Kochlerfilms

  • To win a copy send an email to: with the subject heading KINGDOM
    include your name and address, 2 winners will be randomly picked DEC 10

    Nov 5, 2005

    Number 9, Number 9, Number 9...

    No this is not about The Beatles Revolution #9, it's about CRIMESPREE issue #9 shipping. It was all boxed up and sent off to the Mailing service on Friday, so it should start showing up in about 10 days, unless you are in Canada, then for some reason you seem to get it much quicker....

    Here's the Table of contents:

    From The Editor
    On The Road By Ruth Jordan
    Sneak Peek: A Virgin Author's Tour Report, Randall Hicks
    Dennis Lynds Remembered By Robert J Randisi
    Bouchercon 2005
    Footprints - Lawrence Treat-By Ted Hertel Jr
    The Gay Detective Novel By Lori Lake
    Fiction- Mom, How'd You End Up In Jail? By A.A. Kelly
    Fatwa, My Love By Nathan Singer
    The Challenge by Don Bruns
    Rants and Raves by Robert J Randisi
    Cover Story-Max Allan Collins
    Interview by Sean Chercover
    Cover Story-Manuel Ramos
    Interview by Steven Torres
    Fiction-Bad Haircut Day By Manuel Ramos
    Brian Azzarello Interview By Manuel Ramos
    Giving Back By Cathryn J Lyons
    Get Ransomed By Robert W Walker
    Denise Mina Interview By Ruth Jordan
    More pictures
    IDW Publishing By Jon Jordan
    Ridley Pearson Interview By Shirley Kennett
    My Irish Godfather By Reed Farrel Coleman
    IAMTW Is Born By Lee Goldberg
    Fiction-Brooks Poetry Society-By James P Hanley
    Martial Arts By Barry Eisler
    Lunch With Lehane By Ruth Jordan
    Eye On Hollywood By Jeremy Lynch
    Reed's Tunes
    Hail Margery! By Ruth Jordan
    More Pictures
    Charlie Huston Interview By Anthony Rainone
    Ms. Terious

    It's a pretty damn good issue and the interviews are especially good.
    Next issue, #10, will feature Alafair Burke and Jan Burke.

    And don't forget to send us award nomintations!

    Oct 17, 2005


    The final issue of CrimeSpree for 2005 is coming your way. On the final page is our annual shout out for your favs of the year. So as management I’ll ask you to consider this page carefully and respond

    Can you narrow down your list of favorite reads to 5? That’s what we’re asking you to do.

    Ongoing series, your top five again. Which series do you never miss that did something different, took the tone of the series in a new direction? or maybe had a fabulous character twist? Did an author you adore stretch to new lengths, or clean up loose ends from previous books? We’re asking for five, you can do five

    For those of you at the Crimespree party at this years Bouchercon you know that we gave out the first “Jack Reacher” Award. With the permission of Lee Child we’ll be giving this award out every year. It is an editorial award but we’d like our readers input. Not only must this book be a fast and entertaining read that you’d recommend to anyone BUT you must also believe that the author, while highly successful continues to give back to the mystery community (readers, writers and organizations) in a selfless manner. It’s your chance to suggest someone who deserves an award for being a damn fine writer and being themselves!

    Now I know it’s not even the end of October and many of you are still working on the pile but it’s never too early to start.

    Would you like to hear what my picks are? To get everyone started I’ll give you a peek ?

    Best continuing series….

    John Connolly- BLACK ANGEL is the bomb. It’s a book written in a manner that is assuredly Charlie Parker but the prose is poetic and the writer’s voice rings more truly than it has in the past. I was enveloped in this story as I read and had to blink before stepping back into reality. A step like this takes more than just confidence on the part of an author. It takes a gigantic leap of faith.

    Elizabeth George- I still can’t believe what this best seller did to her series. Talk about changing character direction. WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS took a huge risk not only in character development but also is a rather cynical look at the serial killer novel, tongue in cheek if you read between the lines.

    Val McDermid- Two fold really. While I mention enjoying George’s cynicism above there’s still nobody who does the serial killer novel better than Ms. McDermid. This year’s THE TORMENT OF OTHERS is so deeply layered with police procedural and the evolution of the characters of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan it’s hard to believe Ms. McDermid will ever come to an end of their story. Brain Tumor indeed! And there’s a place in my heart for the trade paperback release of HOSTAGE TO MURDER. Lindsay Gordon has been away a long time but I slipped right back in with her during this fantastical caper with a strong foot in reality. I recommend this book highly.

    Reed Farrel Coleman- THE JAMES DEANS is an extremely well written book. Both “Cold Case” and “Ripped from today’s headlines” in nature and with enough twists to keep every mystery reader entertained I cannot help but think that Mr. Coleman also establishes a rapport with a much wider audience in this book than in the previous Moe Pragers. The reason is the case. The simple fact that the “mystery” Prager is asked to solve in this one has little to do with his personal environment allows us a glimpse at what makes Moe tick in a way that may have been missed in his earlier and equally entertaining books. This one maintains one of the best evolving series in mystery while ascertaining that we’re only at the beginning of what this gifted writer has to say .

    The last one is always the hardest isn’t it?

    But because of British/American release dates and a number of other factors I’m going to stick with a lady I believe to be doing something entirely unique in mystery.

    Rochelle Krich- NOW YOU SEE ME is the fourth Moll Blume book. True crime reporter, Orthodox Jew, amateur sleuth, newlywed Molly Blume is a fascinating character. This mystery is well crafted. It allows Krich to explore the horrific possibilities of the internet. Not content to rest there this talented author turns this into a tale of secret pasts and long ago wrongs. Krich reveals a glimpse into the life of the very contemporary Orthodox Jew and a look into the historic past of this religion. With alternating P.O.V.s she keeps the story well paced and it never feels scripted. Krich is everything I hoped Faye Kellerman would become. And she shows no signs of slowing down.

    So there’s a glimpse into what Ruth is thinking. Both old a new favorites with enough talent amongst them to topple THE DIVINCI CODE. Well at least until the movie comes out….

    You want fav five? I’m not ready to commit yet but there are two books that if you haven’t read them yet, I highly suggest you do before you make your picks- Laura Lippman’s THE POWER OF THE THREE and Walter Mosley’s CINAMMON KISS.

    Take care and happy reading


    Oct 13, 2005

    Be Immortalized In Greg Rucka's New Atticus Kodiak Novel

    Atticus Kodiak, Greg Rucka's signature fiction hero is returning in the novel Patriot Acts to be published next year by Bantam. Rucka is offering a major role in the novel to the highest bidder in this week's CBLDF eBay auction. The auction winner will be written into the book, and will receive a signed advance reading copy and hardcover first edition of the novel upon its publication.

    Set three years after the events of Critical Space, Patriot Acts introduces us to a changed Atticus, who has transcended the personal security business to find himself in a world of even higher stakes. Rucka explains, "Patriot Acts is the much-anticipated return of Atticus
    Kodiak, picking up three years after the events of Critical Space, and finds Atticus blackmailed into performing a 'service for his country' that isn't quite what it appears at first glance."

    Rucka says that the auction winner will be an important role in the book. "The winner of the auction will have a major character in the novel named after them -- this isn't a one-page walk-on, walk-off, or an 'I name a corpse after you' gig, but rather a character who will
    be critical to the plot and story of the novel. No guarantees if you're a good guy, bad guy, or somewhere in between.

    An outspoken advocate for free speech, Rucka has a long history of supporting the CBLDF. He's auctioned off roles in his last two Queen & Country novels to support the Fund, raising nearly $5,000 through those initiatives alone. He has also participated as amicus for the CBLDF in the California Supreme Court case in re: George T, and is a fixture at Fund signings and events throughout the country.

    Rucka describes his commitment to the Fund and the ideals it stands for: "Freedom of speech is truly the most precious right we have in this country, as well as one of our most essential and basic rights. All of us have the right to say our piece, and to do so without fear.
    The moment someone--anyone--can dictate what we say and cannot say, what stories we can tell, or see, or read, and what stories we cannot, we lose more than our freedom; we lose the promise of our nation. The CBLDF has never backed down in its commitment
    to this right. And I sleep a hell of a lot better at night knowing that the Fund is out there, unwavering in its dedication to let us all read what we want to read, and tell the stories we want to tell. An industry without the CBLDF scares me - it should scare us all. I am - and
    always have been - very proud to join the Fund."

    The auction to win a role in Patriot Acts will go live at 2 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday October 12 and will close on Wednesday
    October 19. To bid on this item, please visit
  • Rucka Auction


    Oct 9, 2005

    Crimespree 9 could be a little late

    We are plugging away on issue 9, but due to a couple of things we might ship a little late. It isn't slated to hit the mial till the first week of November, but we are already behind our deadline so I wanted to let people know.

    Factors involved in the issue being late involve a family health issue and a trip to Baltimore on deadline weekend. Plus I got my yearly sinus "thing" early so I've been alternating between waiting for my head to explode and blowing my nose a lot.

    The Max Allan Collins interview is amazing. Sean Chercover did a great job.
    We also have a great Interview from Manuel Ramos with Brian Azzarello, and Steven Torres in turn interviewed Manuel.

    Plus Bouchercon pictures and pool moments. What are poll moments? You'll have to read and find out!

    So please bare with us, issue nine will be as close to on time as we can make it.

    Oct 3, 2005

    5 years, already?

    This weekend Ruth and I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. This is pretty cool because seven years ago I figured I would be single the rest of my life.

    A brief re-cap of the story:

    Ruth and I met at Bouchercon 1999 in Milwaukee. I'd been sober four years and was at a pretty good place for the first time in a long time in my life. Ruth was also at a point in her life when she was getting over something and starting to really starting to enjoy life again. Neither of us were on the prowl or looking for that special someone. But we met, and in the next few months started dating. We got married exactly a year after we met.

    I can't picture my life with out Ruth in at this point. Almost everything I do she's involved in some way. It's been 5 years of pure joy. It doesn't hurt that she is even more of a mystery fan than I am, and we have vary similar tastes in music and movies. Without her I don't think Crimespree would exist, I probably would never have done Interrogations and statred a second book. And I'm sure I would spend more time at home watching tv instead of going out and doing really great things.

    At times it feels like we've known each other forever, and other times it's like we've just met and are still grinning at each other like goofs.

    Time really does fly when you are having fun.

    Sep 24, 2005

    Graphic Novels Again

    Well, I think at this point we could safely say that Road To Perdition did well. The movie was pretty damn good in my book. And the fact that I loved the original graphic novel didn't hurt. Max Allan Collins has since written two novels to finish off the story, last years ROAD TO PURGATORY and thes December's ROAD TO PARADISE. This work shows off Collins' strength of writing books set in the past. His details are meticulous and his research shows. Add the fact that he writes a hell of a story and you can't go wrong with any of his work. ROAD TO PARADISE is some of his best work. Look for it in DEC.

    Another movie based on a graphic novel just opened last night. THE HISTORY OF VIOLENCE was put out by the same imprint of DC that did ROAD TO PERDITION. A terrific story and a great cast.

    Just out now is the collected IDENTITY CRISIS from DC written by Brad Melzter. Even non comics fans should enjoy this murdermystery full of loss and tradgedy. The consequences of this story are reaching into a lot of the other DC titles. The story stands by itself just fine though, and I would recomend picking it up.

    ONI press is doing a wonderful job with Greg Rucka's QUEEN AND COUNTRY espionage series. I've read a bunch of it and really enjoy it. The characters are all to real feeling and while they are doing the right thing, it doesn't always feel right when they do it. I also highly recommend these books, which are all availablein trade paperbacks.

    DC Comics has published stories featuring The Legion Of Superheroes for a long time, dating back to ADVENTURE COMICS # 247 in 1958. Over the years a lot of different writers have added their own take to the mythology of this group of teen superheroes in the future. Some of the story arcs have been amazing and others have been lack luster. One of my favorites was THE DARKNESS SAGA in the late eighties.

    The series has been revamped again, this time by Mark Waid, a terrific comics writer and a real scholar of the history behind the characters. This time around the series has a little different feel and promises to be amazing. The young heroes are banded together to bring peace and understanding throughout the United Planets, but the government wishes they would just go away. A basic theme of youth feling out of place prevails and it rocks.

    Coming this January is Denise Mina's take on John Constantine HELLBLAZER. She's a self admitted fan of the series and given the talent shown inher novels this should be great. And I mean really great. Ruth will have aninterview with Denise in Crimespree #9.

    Charlie Huston is currently writing a run of MOON KNIGHT for Marvel. While trying to get reading copies from Marvel Comics is like trying to get the President to step down form office, I will report more as they actually come out.

    DC Comics is also releasing a wonderful series in tradepaperback format.
    SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE is one of the most noir and pulpish feeling comics I've ever read. DC is putting out the trades of collected story arcs and I couldn't be happier.
    So far there are three available,
  • . Writeen by Matt Wagner and set in the time of jazz clubs and gansters this is a wildly entertaining series that features a hero who doesn't have powers, just intellect. Terrific stuff, gritty, moody and sometimes creepy.

    There's some great stuff out there, and these are not the comics I read as a kid!

    Sep 18, 2005

    A new on line interview

    It's been a while since I've done an interview for the web, but I love Crimescene Scotland and Russel was kind enough to let me do one for him. The subject of the interview is one Stuart McBride, author of COLD GRANITE.
  • Crime Scene Scotland

  • It was a fun interview and He's also a hell of a writer.

    Sep 5, 2005

    Bouchercon 2005 - another one slips away

    Well Chicago Bouchercon 2005 is over. I've unloaded the truck, my dining room table is covered with books, a big pile of laundry taunting me. I'm tired, but not wasted tired. I do think I'll be sleeping in....

    So, let's try to recap the highlights:

    I got to meet a bunch of new people, Ray Banks,and the Lovely Mrs. Banks, Anthony Rainone, Suane Swierczynski, David "World's Greatest Moderator" Montgomery, Russel McLean, Dusty Rhoades and his wife Lynn, Kathy Daneman of SOHO Press, Daneille Bartlett of Harper Collins, Linda McFall of St. Martins, Andrew Gulli of the Strand Magazine, Colin Campbell, Annette and Martin Meyers, Cornelia Read, Brian Freeman, Joseph Finder, Todd Robinson of, Simon Wood, Christopher Rice..... It goes on and on. Loads of great people I hope to see more of. Bouchercon being the way it is I seldom get to spend the amount of time with people that I would like to.

    Lots of old friends, too numerous to mention.

    Kent Krueger won best novel Anthony Award, well deserved and it about time.

    Bowling.... Lots of Bowling...... I may not be consistant enough to win, or even be considered good, but I am a very fast bowler. 17.5 MPH......

    Lots of good food.A number of very nice breakfasts.

    I had my fanboy moment when I met Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. Wonderful writers, wonderful people.

    Barry Eisler is funny as hell, so is Blake Crouch.

    Gregg Hurwitz is very cool.

    Zoe Sharp is going to be a superstar.
    Simon Kernick is going to be big.

    The auction item we donated went for $750. Joe Konrath did great job with the auction.

    Barbara Seranella is my idol. She wa signing books and handing out onions that had a note attached that said
    "Please enjoy this onion, I'm keeping the liver"

    Reed Coleman is too cool to put into words.

    I saw Anthony Neal Smith smile, more than once. And the PLOTS WITH GUNS anthology looks great!

    The shamus awards were amazing fun. Christine Matthews did a spectacular job. And Ken Bruen's intro speaach for best novel was great.

    Did I mention Bowling? We went twice....

    We bought many Dennis McMillan books. Monkology rocks.

    The whole convention had a mellow groovy vibe. The hotel was perfect. And lots to do near by.

    Ayo Onatade is one of my favorite people, and so is Sean Chercover. They have both been made honorary Jordans.

    Our party was a bit better than we expected. The waitress told us we had over 450 people show up. It started just fine, a few people started walking in, I was able to say hello to everyone, and little by little the place filled up. Before long I couldn't get across the room. Chaos, though controlled , ensued....
    We did manage to quiet the crowd long enough to give out our awards.

    Jack Recher book of the year went to Lee Child for THE ENEMY
    Favorite Book of 2004 wa Scott Phillips
    Contributer of the Year went to Ayo Onatade.

    Next year we hope to have five....

    My wife Ruth moderated her first panel at the Big Show. It went well, she ran out of time before she ran out of questions..
    My panel was fun, though I thought I got a bit fanboyish while talking about George Chesbro.

    Jerry Healy rocks.

    David Morrel rocks.

    I best stop now, it's asll blurring together...... It was great.

    Aug 28, 2005

    Finding the Magic

    I love a mystery. From cozy to thriller a good book provides me with hours of entertainment. A great book is magical. The bad ones are disappointments. Every book is unique. It is an experience put on the page by one individual and interpreted by another. We are all a fan base of one. I hate the labels and yet they are needed. . With as many titles as are put out annually in our genre I cannot think of another way to wade through the thousands of offerings presented to me every year.

    I consider myself a liberal when it comes to reading. I don’t dismiss any title because of a preconceived prejudice. "I don’t read British", "I read the books with recipes", "police procedurals are too much about the crime", "Oh, I tried him but there was too much violence for my taste" All statements I’ve heard from more than one source. Personally they make me shudder. However, I have no right to tell anyone what to read. Free time is precious and certainly everyone has a right to decide how to use theirs. I can and I do mourn for their loss. The James Lee Burke fan who never tries Ian Rankin. The Katherine Hall Page Fan who never tries Susan McBride. Any soft-boiled reader who misses Martha Grimes because Jury and Wiggins are police is only hurting them self. And that last statement…… if you’re reading mystery and the subject of violence is glossed over…… you’re reading a bad book.

    That’s my background. I read 350 books a year. And now I’m going to weigh in on this year’s controversy. Gender preference.

    Mr. Penzler drove me a little crazy earlier this year. He dismissed much of the mystery genre with a rather broad statement put forth in the New York Post. Patricia Sprinkle had an excellent rebuttal in the next Sisters in Crime Newsletter. I have to say a bookstore owner saying all women writers are hacks is, let me look for the right word here…. got it…… comical. Now my taste in mystery and Otto’s are not all that different. I love most of the authors he endorses. I just read more. And I pity him. Some of the books he’s missing because of gender preference are important. Some are pure fun, and many are unforgettable. He has every right to his opinion, and females have every right to boycott his store and his mystery line. But I’m not holding my breath on that front nor am I endorsing it. As I said Otto and I have similar tastes.

    Women authors banding together and saying, "We shouldn’t be categorized as females and our work should be appreciated for its merits," is a good idea. Calling the sounding board “The Lipstick Chronicles” is ….. let me find the right word here…. comical. There have been some great pieces on that site. There’s also been a number of sweeping generalizations I find offensive. Male bashing and dismissing entire sub-genres is perpetuating the problem not making it better. There’s nothing new in women not getting any respect. It happens in every job. It happens in mine. Write a good book. Do a good job. That’s all it takes.

    So now I’m going to celebrate some of my favorite authors. They happen to be female. They are to a name a joy to share the experience of reading with.

    Without a doubt S.J. Rozan and Laura Lippman are two of the most important writers today. Rozan’s ABSENT FRIENDS and Lippman’s EVERY SECRET THING and TO THE POWER OF THE THREE are proof that the unique experience of a read can become communal. These two women played with the structure of the novel and presentation of character with an ability and craftsmanship that was brilliantly individual. The stories may not be for everyone but the talent of the scribes must be acknowledged. Both of these women also continue to write their series with a rate of growth few are capable of.

    Val McDermid is a name in mystery that has to be read. She writes everything. Hard-boiled, Soft, P.I., Police Procedural, Amateur Sleuth. She’s written from every p.o.v. and here’s the most important part….. she writes everything well. No matter where your tastes lie within the vast genre of mystery there’s a McDermid book out there screaming for you to read it.

    And here’s a list off the top of my head

    Hard-boiled- Vicki Hendricks, Karin Slaughter, Carroll O’Connell, Denise Mina, Mo Hayder,

    Amateur Sleuth- Barb D’Amato, Jan Burke, Nevada Barr, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Sue Dunlop, Sujata Massey, Libby Fischer Hellman, Nancy Pickard

    Police Procedural- April Woo, Leslie Glass, Ruth Rendell, Paula Woods

    P.I.- Sandra Scoppettone, Sara Paretsky, Linda Barnes, Marcia Muller

    Lawyers- Lia Matera, Lisa Scottilone, Alafair Burke, Margaret Maron,

    Lighter side- M.C. Beaton, Sarah Graves, Charlaine Harris, Joan Hess, Dianne Mott Davidson, Denise Swanson

    There are new writers. Rochelle Kirch’s series does everything Kellerman tried to do with hers. Ruth Francisco is a name to follow. Judy Clemens has a unique series that I’m not going to miss. And it goes on and on. In this genre there is something for everyone and no matter what you like to read there are men and women who do it well. There are also men and women who do it badly. Cutting yourself off from a percentage of writers because of their gender is absurd. Deciding to put down a book because it isn’t your cup of tea is simple common sense. Two absolutes. This is a huge genre and finding a new author you think is special is one of life’s greatest joys. Respect your fellow readers when they do the same. That’s called manners.


    Aug 27, 2005

    Sweet Home Chicago

    It's almost Bouchercon time. How do I know? I have stuff piled up all over ready to load into the truck. This is the first time we'll be driving to the convention so we are taking advantage of this.

    We loaded up on Vitamin Water, five different flavors, and rockstar energy drink.
    A huge footlocker for door prizes for our party, magazines to have on sale in the book room. I could go on and on, but let's just say the bell boy will be getting a nice tip....

    SO, Crimespree Magazine's Second Annual Gala Party!
    Last year we wanted to buy drinks for a few people and invited twenty or so folks ofver to The Lone Star bar across the street from the hotel. We had more than twenty show up!
    This year we have a great place picked out and have set up for a cash bar, free food and doorprizes to be given out. We'll also be giving out the Crimespree awards at this party.
    If you are interested shoot me an email for details.

    Next week not too much going on here on the blog, but the week after start looking for pictures and tales from the road!

    Aug 19, 2005

    Two weeks till ship date

    Interview with Zoe Sharp, author of the rocking great book FIRST DROP by Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Appearing in issue 8 of
  • Crimespree Magazine

  • Please remeber that Bulk Mail takes up to 14 days. It is shipping the Friday before Bouchercon, and will be on sale in the dealer room at Bouchercon.

    A Poll

    This year at Bouchercon during our party we are giving out a couple awards.

    Favorite Book which was voted on last winter and The Jack Reacher Book of the year.

    I'm looking for interesting ideas for other awards. We're thinking of best second or third novel, best on going series, and best marketing idea.
    We're looking for new ideas that are a little different. so feel fre to leave a comment with your thoughts.

    Aug 9, 2005

    **** Rant Warning ****

    I need to get this out.

    Can't we all just get along?

    A number of ladies are discussing the fact that men aren't reading their books, and that they aren't being treated seriously enough.
    The PI people think that they are not represented properly at conventions.
    Thriller writters think they are over looked by awards.
    Hard boiled guys want to know why they don't have wider appeal.
    The self published folks want to be seen as real writers.

    I could go on and on.

    Hey!! It's all mystery. It all falls into this genre we love. It is making me crazy to see all this splintering off of little groups, getting smaller and more specific. What's next? Transvestites who write cozy PI novel paperback originals translated from Greek?

    Bouchercon to me is all about everyone coming together. And yet everyone is trying to seperate themsleves. Doesn't it occur to anyone that by putting authors who write things a little different from each other you might bring in different readers? A thriller writer on a panel with a cozy writer is going to attract new readers for both, not just catering to the readers they all ready have.

    There is speculation about why certain books are only in paprback and not hardcover. The reason? Because the publisher feels that is what the target audience will buy. If they were switched to hardcover they might lose readers. Better to sell 10000 paperbacks than 100 hardcovers.

    And why should I feel guillty because Out of every hundred books I read 60 are men ond only 40 are women? I'm reading what I enjoy. I don't get asked to explain why I like Coke more than Pepsi, why should I have to explain this? When I review I judge on one thing only, quality of writing. And that's what it's all about. Is there some bias in peoples reading habits? Of course there is. It's the nature of humans to be that way. Is it a plot against what ever particlular writers grop you may be a part of? I doubt it.

    Most things that seem like a plot can most liekly be explianed on a business level. How does this effect the publisher? Or the newspaper reviewing, or the store ordering? It's simple economics. If the people involved aren't making a profit, they can't afford to do it, no matter jopw much they might like the author and the work.

    Another thing....

    Marketing. I got an email today asking if I would like torecevie a book in the mail. The emailer had seen my reviews on Amazon and thought that if I liked the book I could review it there.
    I already reviewed this book. The author knows this as do his publicity people. And the truth is, the only people who really care about reviews on Amazon are the publishers. The actual anount of sales from Amazon is pretty low in the whole scheme of things, between 6% and 10% of overall sales.
    I understand needing to market a book. I really do. It is very important. And trying new things is not a bad idea. MJ Rose's idea of using an internet video was pretty clever. Did it sell enough books to justify the cost? I don't know.

    But there are some ideas that are just bad. People driving themselves crazy figuring out how to get their books into Walmart. Why? So they sell a bunch of books to a box store that want's a 70% discount and only pays the employees a less than living wage? And don't get me started on how they discriminate against women with their promoting policies...

    I saw on a board I belong to a thread involving someone talking about going door to door and handing out postcards to his nieghbors. Months after the book was out I might add. Am I theonly person who thinks this would be a waste of time and postcards?

    The truth is there are thousands of mysteries put out every year. Competition is a factor, but you can only do so much promotion before it just gets annoying or becomes a waste of money.

    Ok, let's wrap this up.

    Be nice to each other, we're all in this together!!!

    And market wisely, not expensively.

    Aug 8, 2005

    The West Wing

    I never watched this show on network television. I came to it about a year ago in re-runs.

    I really enjoy it. I don't always agree with the politics, but thats the way life is, and no matter what it always makes me think.

    Good acting, some good comedy. All in all a pretty damn good show.

    My problem is this.

    Stockard Channing played a slutty girl in GREASE. That was the first time I ever saw her in anything and the image sits with me. I can't shake it. I see Mrs. Bartlett and I'm thinking Rizzo.

    She's a great actress, the fault is all mine. Or who maybe whoever did the casting for GREASE.

    GREASE is the word, it's time it's a motion.
    And Mrs. Barlett is a slut.

    Aug 5, 2005

    A newbie’s guide to Bouchercon


    I have found in past years it works best to pack one smaller suitcase inside a larger one. I always seem to have more coming back than I do on the way there.

    I’ve also stopped bringing books to get signed. I just don’t want to blow time standing in lines, and if I do need a signed book, I’ll get a copy there. If there is someone I never get to see I might bring a couple books….

    I’ve become one of those people who figures if I forget something, I’ll get it there.

    Dress comfortable:

    There’s a lot to be said for comfy shoes and fresh socks. One dressy outfit just in case should cover it.

    Also, for the most part you don’t really go outside much. So extra clothes to be warm takes up room. Of course this may change in Alaska…

    Do some checking ahead of time:

    What does shipping stuff home cost? Can you do it somewhere besides the hotel?

    Find cheap food or different food near the hotel.

    <>Check out transportation ahead of time, buses, cab fares Etc..

    Things you might not think about:

    Rock Star Energy Drink baby!


    <>Extra coffee

    Carry a pen with you, you never know when you’ll need it

    Business cards save time writing down your email address

    Don’t try and do everything. You’ll go crazy. Besides some of the best stuff isn’t on the schedule.

    Like sitting down to breakfast and being next to a favorite author, meeting new friends and going out to lunch, things like that.

    <>And remember. you can sleep when you get home!

    any other tips? I’m all ears.

    Aug 3, 2005

    HA hahahahaaaaa

    Panic was for naught.

    Issue 8 is at the printers awaiting final proof check. The first run through found only one error.

    Early reports indicate a nice looking issue. With far less speeling erros than can be found in my posting!

    All that's left now is waiting a bit and then mailing it out.

    So...... what to do for Number 9.......

    Jul 30, 2005

    The Panic Days

    Every two months I sit down to do the layout on Crimespree and usually it takes a good to solid days. Issue 6 and 7 involved longer than usual periods with out sleep. As I get better with the software I think the issues look better and better.

    Well, number 8 is coming down fast and the panic comes along with it.
    Do I have enough material?
    Do I have too much material?
    If I have too much, how can I whittle it down?
    Does someone get bumped?
    That’s weird, I don’t remember talking to this person about doing an article, and yet here it is with a note saying that we had talked about…
    Do I have enough reviews?
    Did I forget to review something?
    Are my regular contributors going to make the deadline?

    Well, so far I have a fair amount of stuff a little early, so the layout has already begun. A number of regular contributors always manage to scare me, but always, and I mean always, come through in the end.

    So I’m going through everything lined up for this coming issue and trying to figure out the page count. And of course I also have to try and get the ads in there and remember all of them.

    So far so good.

    We have some great pictures from Mary Reagan and from Rik Shepherd of event in the UK, a nice piece from Harry Hunsicker on his book launch, David Morrell sent us a great article, we have Sandra Tooley and some great thoughts on Self Publishing. Julia Spencer-Fleming interviews Zoe Sharp, Maureen Robb interviews Patricia Sprinkle. Cover boys Michael Connelly and William Kent Krueger. A nice piece on Michael from Craig McDonald and a great interview of Kent by Jeremy Lynch. Lori Avocato, Shirley Kennet, Ray Banks, and Will Staeger are here too. Great fiction from Iain Rowan, Steven Torres and Otis XII. And of course Reed Coleman, Robert J Randisi and Jim Pascoe.

    And just so no freaks out, it will ship the Friday before Bouchercon, this means with bulk mailing it will be between 10 and 16 days before it shows up.

    It will be on sale at Bouchercon® in Chicago at the MYSTERY ONE booth in the dealer room.

    All in all a pretty action packed issue. Will it all jam into the 76 pages between the covers? I hope so…

    Jul 29, 2005

    More great books

    Well, TILT-A -WHIRL was great. I wasn't sure what to exect going in, but it turned out to be a great read. It's the first in the series from this ad executive with a background that goes to comedy. He also did the ad campaign for TROJAN MAN, a wonderful way to sell condoms.

    The book takes palce in a resort town called Sea Haven and is a wonderful setting for a book. The narration comes from Danny Boyle, who is actually a bit of a sidekick with a ebnt towards being a smart ass. A dead millionaire and kidnapped daughter later the book really starts humming and the ending is not what I expected, which is getting rare these days! I would say it would be a good idea to get this as soonas it comes out.

    I finished the Randisi/Matthews book also. This was such a pleasure to read. SAME TIME ,SAME MURDER, while telling the story of how Gil and Claire Hunt met, is also a great whodunit set at a mystery converntion. Seamless plotting and story telling at it's finest. St. Martins should really put these out in paperback too.

    I also read the new Kirk Russell book, DEADGAME. This time out our wildlife officers are tracking Salmon poachers, add a litte Russian mob action, some ex-cons and a few budget cuts, and what you have in your hands is another great book from Russell. Anyone who han't read him yet should, he's a real talent.

    I just started THE DARWIN CONSPIRACY by John Darnton. I picked it up thinking it would be a book trying to get buzz from that Da Vinci book. Nope. This is definitly a book standing on it's own merit. Plus Darnton is a mucg better author. The story opens with a man kind of lost and recovering from tragedy. He is doing research for a degree and begins to lose interest. He becomes fascinated with Chrles Darwin and starts looking into the man's life. Written with flashbacks to Darwin's time it is a lot of fun and beauttifully written.

    And don't forget, Zoe Sharp's book comes out Sept. 1st!!

    Jul 21, 2005

    Lethargic in Milwaukee


    It's really humid, it's too hot. I'm working in a shop that feels like an oven set on broil.

    I come home from work and I'm drenched, sweaty, gross and a bit rank.

    Work on the magazine a bit, do some chores (laundry) and head to the shower.

    At this point I'm feeling human, though wiped out. So the best remedy must be to...
    Read of course.

    And right now I'm reading Stuart McBride's COLD GRANITE. Wondrful book. Police Procedural set in a sall Scottish burg. I love the characters and the story rocks. Look for a review in Crimespree #8.

    Thanks Stuart. You've made this tropical hell a little easier to endure.....

    UPDATE: 3:30 am, finished book. McBride rocks. If you like Rankin, Billingham, Kernick you'll love this. It has a similar flavor, while still being fresh. Outstanding book.

    Also, after finishing the book I went down to the family business and finished a job that has been making me crazy. I had a revelation while looking throught the book stack. Now the Job is done and I'm starting TILT A WHIRL. So far so good. I'm also half way through the new Randisi/Matthews book, SAME TIME-SAME MURDER. This is also a very fun book with a murder at Bouchercon.

    Jon - 4:18 am, off to read some more.

    Jul 17, 2005

    Harry Potter

    Let me get this straight from the begining.
    I had the new Harry Potter in my hands at 14 minutes after midnight. There was no long hours of waiting in a bookstore, I reserved a copy at a store which was beyond organized. Quarter to twelve I walked in, went to the counter and paid for my books. including the Potter. I had been handed a letter as I walked in the door ( I was a "L"), I went out for a smoke and waited maybe five minutes for midnight. I casualy walked into the store and got in line. At twenty minutes after the hour I was driving home. No Fuss No Muss.

    And now.....The rest of the story...

    I went to get the new book with one of my best friends, Richard. Richard's wife said as w were leaving, "Have fun dorks!". We just smiled. Richard explained to her how we had costumes hidden in the car and would be changing in the parking lot before entering the store.
    We didn't really do this.....

    Ruth kept referring to this as our attempt at male bonding. It's not. We both wanted the book, and why not go and enjoy the show?

    And it was a show.There were hundreds of people in the store. And they were all there to buy books. Children dressed up and excited. This was cool.
    Twenty something goth's excited and dressed up, this was weird.
    Adults excited and dressed up, this was sad.
    It's not sad they were excited, but I do think there is an age when you should consider the fact that dressing up in costumes is for kids, leave it to them.
    However it was also very cool because the store we went to had someone come in to read to the kids. A local celebrity who was in Buffy The Vampire Slayer series and for us older folks, ANIMAL HOUSE. That's right ladies and gentlemen, Neidermeyer was there and reading Harry Potter aloud. Mark Metcalf owns a local eatery in Mequon, just north of Milwaukee and he was on hand. I could not help mself an immediatly start to say very loudly" IS THAT A QUIDDITCH PIN ON YOUR UNIFORM??!!!". Some of the older muggles actually got it and laughed. This led Richard to start with lines from the Twisted Sister vidoes...

    It was very cool to see whole families come out with copies of the book. All of them happy and excited.I loved seeing this many people excited about reading. We have a whole generation who considers reading something you do on a monitor. And the fact that people are making it a family event is great.

    So to anyone who feels the need to rip on Harry Potter or JK Rowling I say this: Get over yourself. JK Rowling deserves every penny she makes. Why? Because she has made reading somethig kids want to do again. She has made it cool. She also has entire families reading together and discussing books. And when they finish the Potter book, many are looking for other books to read as a family. This is where the next generation of mystery fans could be coming from.

    So enough of this bullshit about the book needs some editing, it's too long, it isn't as good as the last one, will it be an enduring classic.... Shut up already. It's entertainment. It's fun. It's adventure. They aren't supposed to change your life or your diet or philosphy in all things. They are supposed to entertain. They are supposed to be fun.

    And they they are entertaining and they are fun.

    And the best part is JK Rowling has a lot of people reading again.

    Jul 15, 2005

    Bouchercon 2008

    Baltimore Maryland.

    Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik co-chairs.

    Bouchercon 2008
    Official Bouchercon 2008 blog site is up and running.
    Links to Guest of Honor's Websites, Links to Baltimore tourist information.

    It's still three years out, but things are already in movement. Exciting times ahead in my house!

    Jul 13, 2005

    Ruth's Reading - A Snapshot in Words

    I’m inspired by recent events to share a taste of my reading so far this year. The books I’m going to talk about may or may not be the best in any academic sense of the crop I’ve read so far this year. What these books were and will always be are a reading experience. If you’re on Jon’s blog you know what I’m talking about. That perfect mix of environmental and mental factors working with your appreciation of the words in front of you on the page. So here it is, the year so far:

    My first favorite of the year was a borrowed ARC of Pelecanos’ DRAMA CITY. Jon and I were in Baltimore , stranded for an extra four hours in the airport. Rescued, I was. Mechanical problems be damned, I was in D.C. with the man who writes it best. The character strokes and nuances of the book were vintage G.P. but the read was streamlined. If you’d have told me in advance I’d be a fan of a full frontal plot from Pelecanos after the wonderful epics of the last four years I’d have been skeptical but the sparseness won me over within pages and an inconvenience became stolen moments in time

    My first surprise of 2005 was this year’s Elizabeth George. Many of you know of my pre-marriage book buying strategy. George was one of the few always purchased in Hard Cover at Casa Flannery. WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS is a special book. George maintains her series integrity while paying it forward. I found this her most intricate book since PLAYING FOR THE ASHES. I read a lot more now than I did when George was a must buy. Still, I’ve yet to miss reading a title in year of publication. So trust me, the broo-ha-ha started about this book is justified and it’s one that deserves to be talked about.

    My second favorite reading experience of the year belongs to Michael Parenti. SUPERPATRIOTISM stole a weekend from Jon. Parenti’s analysis of current day knocked my socks off as his books often do. If there is a more articulate person writing from the left today I haven’t found him. Anyone interested in not only political but societal changes brought about due to “patriotism” will enjoy this read.

    And then came the weekend when I had a pile of twelve review books to read and I ignored them all. Due to misinformation I had failed to receive a pre-read of Jan Burke’s BLOODLINES. I grabbed it, “Just for me,” I proclaimed. The next morning I was wrapping it up as Jon awoke to start his day. Burke’s books have consistently improved since GOODNIGHT IRENE. GOODNIGHT IRENE was a very strong book. But Bloodlines took me back to the beginning of Burke’s always good series and roped me. The time before and the time since all co-mingled in this excellent and ambitious book. Long time questions were answered for readers and the story was enveloped in the mystique of a singular voice so the same and yet so much better. A Sublime experience that was well worth two days of dark circles.

    I had a reading marathon in the midst of April. From Wed. to Sunday I read Sarah Weinman style (but it takes me at least twice as long). Three nights, two days, sixteen books. Saturday, I picked up a short story anthology titled DREAMS NEVER DIE and discovered H.P. Tinker. I am a slave and will follow him anywhere. Precise and unique his prose is the freshest I’ve read in a long time. I bow to you Mr. Tinker. Thank you for making me feel like I was a giddy neophyte again. I called people and e-mailed, and pounded the brush. 16 books and your three stories are what I come away with from that weekend.

    My experience of the year thus far? THE POWER OF THE THREE by Laura Lippman. Talking about this book is almost mandatory this summer. To say I’m in awe of what this author is managing to do with words is an understatement. “You never know what you’re going to get.” Few authors shift their eye and maul our comfortable allusions in the way this woman can. POWER is a potent read. It’s a shattering look at how today’s upper middle class can blow apart in a nano-second. Lives not realized resonate from the pages and the bonds that form us are exposed for how tenuous and damaging they can become under a given set of circumstances. The pressures faced by today’s adolescents become visceral and the fears of every parent are realized. With a myriad of characters that are singularly and as a whole unforgettable TPOT3 is a reader’s experience. I spoke with a friend who’s also a best selling author last month and he was astonished not that Lippman had written another great book but at how complete it really was. Paraphrasing here, “I kept waiting for a mistake, somewhere, anywhere. Turning pages and knowing one had to happen. It never did. The book is the real deal. Perfectly constructed.” And that sums it up better than I ever could. That overused phrase “genre-transcending” does apply to THE POWER OF THE THREE. It is the only book this year that I’ve read twice and is still on my TBR pile.

    The why I’m writing this belongs to a friend who slipped me a copy of Nick Hornby’s THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE, “Books are, let’s face it better than anything else” . And Hornby’s Spree reminded me of why. A short little chronicle of his year in reading the book is a delight. From the wrestling match with Wilkie Collins to Pete Dexter’s overkill( “Pete, did the nipple have to go?”) I spent a series of lunch hours commiserating , agreeing and laughing with Hornby about the joys of our favorite pastime. The joy is back in my reading and words are an adventure again and I have ACTS OF FAITH by Philip Caputo waiting for me, calling my name even. Can you hear it?

    Goodnight and happy reading.


    Jul 10, 2005

    IDW Publishing

    IDE Publishingis a publishing house based in California. Among other things, they publish some great comics. One of the titles they do is the CSI line of comics licensed from CBS.Max Allan Collins is writing some of these and they are outstanding.The Show makes me a little crazy sometimes, but Collins, along with his research guy, Matthew V. Clemons, do a terrific job.
    The Stories are well thought out and very entertaining. They also seem to flesh out the characters a bit more.

    In addition to the CSI comics they also do a number of other really good titles, including two of my favorites which I thought we lost when First Comics shut down. Jon Sable:Freelance is a great series form Mike Grell .

    They are also publishing Grim Jack by Matt Ostrander and Tim Truman. A wickedly entertaining series set in a "grim" future.

    I would recommend getting some books from these folks. They reall y have some great stuff to offer.

    Jul 2, 2005

    Simon Kernick

    Simon Kernick. He was born in 1966 in the outskirt of London. After a number of odd jobs he eventually started writing THE BUSINESS OF DYING. This lead to writing further novels which to date include THE MURDER EXCHANGE, THE CRIME TRADE and his latest A GOOD DAY TO DIE.

    Post bouchercon in Las Vegas I had heard Simon's name. I'd seen it on the internet. In Vegas thanks to Ali Karim I got to meet Simon. I got to spend a bit of time with Simon. As it turns out I really like Simon. It might have to do with the closeness in our ages, his sense of humor is similar to mine and he's just a genuinely nice guy, or bloke depending who you talk to. He's enthusiatstic and outgoing. He also seemes to love what he does. So yes,because of these reasons and more I really liked Simon from the first time I met him.

    So, here's the intersting part of meeting authors, especially when you know you will met them again. I had not read his work yet. It was my guess that judging by the fact that I liked Simon and we shared similar tastes in reading that I would probably really enjoy his writing.

    Well, when we got back to Milwaukee post Vegas I got his first book, THE BUSINES OF DYING. It took about a week for me to get to it. In that time I had the thought that sometimes comes after meeting an author. What if I don't like it? Worse, What if it really sucks? Do I spend the next untold number of conventions avoiding talking about his books when I see him?

    As it turns out this was not an issue. I really liked the book. Enough that I got his second book direct from the UK and read it. I've now read all four of his books and enjoyed them all. He actually gets better with each book.

    He writes about characters that seem real. His good guys aren't always just good, but live in a bit of a gray area. He write wonderful plots that twist and turn. And he mangaes to keep the suspense building through out the books. They are fresh and wonderful.

    From what I understand St. Martins will be releasing them in trade paperback as well, so the back list will be available. Simon is just another reason why I find my self reading more and more UK authors.

    If you have not read Simon Kernick's books yet you should.

    Jun 29, 2005

    Box Office Boffo

    They’re afraid in Hollywood. Should they be? Okay first let’s look at the “Box-Office down for 16 straight weeks.”

    Passion Of The Christ- I haven’t seen this movie and I’m actually a Jim C. fan. I loved Thin Red Line, Frequency, and even the flick with Ashley Judd. I’m just not a fan of fantastical Catholicism. I say this as a woman who wore lace gloves and scarves pre Vatican II. My father was an altar boy until I was two. And like many I rejoiced last year when the buzz seemed to be more about Starsky and Hutch than Passion.

    So last year there wasn’t only a huge section of society reacting to the religious right by seeing the movie there was also a sect that said … anything but. Exaggerated movie sales. And weren’t we all ready for Harry and Peter Parker?

    The truth is a movie is now a forty dollar date. When I was sixteen (a long time ago) a movie was $2.75. So a date with pizza averaged $15.00. We were making $3.50 an hour without tips then. Now a movie date without the pizza after averages about $30.00 and if you need a sitter forget-about-it. Minimum wage is up to $5.75 though . Whoo!

    You can rent a movie and see it at home for about five-fifty. With beverages and popcorn.

    And Hollywood is making money. Don’t let them boo-hoo you. Just now video games and DVD’s are starting to be accounted for. The “free money” is gone. But Hollywood is taking more than it gives. They expect us to go for bad pictures on a title or an actor’s name and we as a public aren’t going there anymore. If we spend this money we must be entertained and the rate of inflation? That’s what the studios should be looking at. Because in many ways these numbers don’t add up. Will Ferrell? Come on, I see him every day in real life and I’m not happy about it.

    Ruth Jordan, reporting from beautiful downtown Milwaukee

    Jun 28, 2005

    New Music

    During some free time please go to this website, Elijah Bossenbroek , and listen to this music.

    I first heard the music of Elijah Bossenbroek on an internet radio station called mysticradio It was playing in the back ground late one night and the song "Leaps and Bounds" came on and I heard something in a style I've never heard. The pure depth of the raw emotion was so deep, it took my breath away, like when you stand next to the Grand Canyon. The passion of this music is like none other that I have ever listened to. I appreciate almost ever type of music, but this touched my soul deeply. Just give this a listen and feel what happens.

    Rick, the printing guru of crimespreemag.

    Jun 26, 2005

    Some thoughts on doing panels

    With Bouchercon coming up and panel assignments going out I thought I might talk about doing panels a little bit. I've been to over 250 signing events and I've seen an awful lot of panels. Some things work and some things don't. Some things work at events, but not on panels and the other way around.

    These are my opinions based on my experience as a convention attendee, talking to other fans who attend and as a person who has been on and moderated panels.

    The Biggest thing to remeber is that signing and reading events are to promote your book, at a panel you are promoting yourself. ( the books will sell as a result, trust me)

    I totally understand that for authors this is a chance to get your name out there and that the biggest reason to go to conventions is to promote your work. The trick is not to over do it.

    The people coming to the panels are paying to be there. They hope to see an informative and/or an entertaining hour with authors. It turns me off when it turns into an info-mercial for the book. I have seen quite a few panels where an author doesn't really answer the question, they just turn it in to a chance to sell their book. You really don't need to do that. The truth is if you are giving informed answers or are entertaining people will remember you and look for your books. I have actually written down author names and later decided against buying books because all they could talk about was themselves.
    It's a fine line between promoting and being obnoxious.

    At larger conventions panel space is at a premium. Bouchercon this year has almost 500 people to fit onto the panels. Getting on one is a good thing. And yet whoever is in charge of the panels always spends half their time fielding complaints about panel placement. People want to be with their friends, they want a different time, they want a different topic. The best thing to do is make the best of the spot you have. Get to know your fellow panelists a bit. Create a bit of camaraderie before the panel. It pays off and it makes for a more enjoyable panel.

    I moderated a panel and had an author who really likes to talk. And talk bout their own work. I actually got phone calls ahead of time warning me about this panel hog.
    The author in question monopolizes apanles and people dread working with them.My point? Better to be brief and entertaining than long winded and dull. People will probably equate your performance to your writing. If you go on and on and people lose interest in what you are saying, chances are they will think your writing is the same way.

    Limit how much stuff you bring with you. I've seen panels where it looks ike a bingo hall with all the stuff people pile in front of them.
    You really only need your latest book if you bring anyting at all. And you don't even need to stand it up, you can hold itup during your intro. The audience will remember it and if they enjoy the panel they will find the book. Too many books covering the front of the table is distracting.
    You want people to watch you, not book covers.

    A good performance on a good panel can sell books. Make them like you. Because if they like you, they will want to read your book.

    A Three Movie Night

    Watched three flicks last night, all pretty good.

    First up was Hostage based on the Robert Crais book. Different from the book of course, but not a bad movie. I always enjoy Bruce Willis and he was good in this. Full of the typical hollywood explosions and gun play it was a action flick with aspirations of wanting to be noirish. While some of the camera angles could be considred noirish I guess, it's hard to do a true noirish picture when you are blowing up entire buildings. But I would recommend this, maybe rent instead of buying.

    Be Cool, also based on a book, this time Elmore Leonard's sequel to Get Shorty. It took some scnes and gimmicks directly from Get Shorty and threw the minto the new premise of Chili Palmer going into the music biz.
    Entertaining and a lot of fun, but nothing spectacular going on here. Cedric The Entertainer was really good, and a bunch of cameos. The stand out for me was The Rock as a gay bodygaurd.

    The Machinist rounded out my evening.
    Wow. This was a great movie. It built suspense really well, wonderful acting andand great story.
    The basic premise is that Trevor Reznick hasn't slept in almost a year. He's lost a lot of weight and he's quite possibly going nuts. I loved every minute of this film. It really did keep me guessing as I was expecting certian things tohappen and they kept twisiting things around.
    This is a movie everyone should see.

    There is a pretty gruesome scene in a machine shop. As a machinist myself it made me cringe.

    All in all a pretty good weekend for movies. Usually we end up with at least one real dud, not this time.

    Jun 22, 2005

    The Story of the Table Cloth

    I remember as a little girl asking my Mom why she didn’t buy a new holiday table cloth. The one we had was Irish lace and a gift from my Nana Banks (for those of you not from the Midwest, Nana is used for great grandmothers). The thing is, there were stains everywhere on that table cloth. Gravy and cranberry sauce, wine and whiskey, a very unfortunate blob we traced back to a sherbet punch and my two year old brother. I knew she could get a new cloth that would look better with the “special” dishes and fancy silverware. Her reply was, “Someday you’ll understand.” <>
    In my twenties I threw lots of parties. They were catered and the cleaning service came in beforehand. I went through a lot of tablecloths. Tossed them away without a second thought.

    Now I like to do my own thing when we have company coming. Sometimes it’s Spaghetti on the stove, sometimes it’s more complicated.

    Last winter my husband and his sister Diane surprised me. I woke up one morning and there was a table where there used to be a desk.

    I bought seat cushions for the chairs, placemats, and a table cloth. It wasn’t the right size and I bought another. The first table covering became the “everyday” cloth and the second was the “company” cloth.

    I pulled out the company cloth for Saturday night. Ironed even. And as I was ironing, I spotted STAINS.

    A wine ring (eke), a spot of jelly (?), Chocolate (a word that should always be capitalized), and something that looked suspiciously like spaghetti sauce. The first thing that popped into my head was, “damn it, I don’t have times to go to Kohl’s.”

    And then I remembered the wine ring was from Reed, the jam from Jennifer’s French toast, the chocolate came from Heidi, and I think probably the sketti sauce was care of Bryan Q. I began to remember the break fasting I’d partaken with these people. The camaraderie and friendship made me smile and I looked for other stains. The cloth was put on the table for Saturday evening.

    I pulled the cloth out of the dryer today and found that Saturday’s birthday candle wax had not only not come out it had spread. And I smiled again. Memories of two people I’d love to share birthdays with every year and the family that was there with us.

    I get it Mom, I get it!

    Let the stains begin!