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!


Jun 15, 2005

Identity Crisis

DC Comics is releasing last summer's mini series Identity Crisis
in a trade volume this fall.

It's a terrific story and Brad Meltzer did a fabulous job using the superhero community for a mystery. It opens with a murder of a very dear member of the DC universe and things start to go to Hell pretty quick as everyone is worried if they can protect their loved ones.

Meltzer tried something pretty ballsy and I for one love it. The art is also amazing.
Rags Morales and Michael Bair are incredible.

They often say things like "The DC universe will never be the same!" Well, this time it's true....

Jun 14, 2005

Ahhh... Chicago in Sept

So, Labor Day weekend, Boucheron in Chicago.

Hot food at Heaven On Seventh seems like a good idea.

The Shamus awards are going to be at a cool speakeasy, and at least one party will have live blues.

I'm getting pretty excited.

I've also heard rumors from people who might be coming to b-con for the first time.

Ray Banks of course is pretty much confirmed. Should we start a bail fund now?

Jun 12, 2005

crimespree 7

Well the new improved earlier deadline freeeeaaaaaked us out a bit, but # 7 is locked and loaded and the proof approved.

Good stuff coming in this one.

Interview with David Bowker by Jennifer Jordan
Footprints: Father Knox’s Rules by Ruth Jordan
Award Nominees
Australian Crime Fiction by Adrian Milnes
Fiction – Above The Fold by Trey R. Barker
Rants and RavesRobert Randisi
Ugly Eye For The Mystery Guy by Jim Pascoe
Bookstore Spotlight – Milwaukee’s Mystery One
Cover Story-Barry Eisler Declassified byRuth Jordan,Joe Konrath
International Thrillers Writers Inc by Dave Bieman
Trouble Shooter Excerpt by Gregg Hurwitz
Publisher Spotlight:Hard Case Crime by Anthony Rainone
Dark Knight Detective byJon Jordan
Interview with Joseph Finder byJason Starr
Eye On Hollywood byJeremy Lynch
My Favorite Crime Movie byVictor Gicshler
The Unspoken Word byReed Farell Coleman
Sick Little Goobers byBlake Crouch
Fiction: The Investigation by HP Tinker
Theres’ No Such Thing As A Bad Review by Ruth Jordan
Crimes On .45 by Kevin Burton Smith
Light Drizzle by JA Konrath
Ms.Terious by Joe and Sam Lemmer

Dark and Stromy Weekend

This is a great place to spend a Saturday if you are aspiring to be a published author.
A whole day of classes with published mystery authors teaching.

Ruth and I went down to interview guests of honor Charlaine Harris and Laura Lippman.
While we had a great time hanging out with everyone, it is a wonderful place to improve your writing and your chances of getting published.


I also had the best cheeseburger of my life......