Jan 24, 2008

Friends Forever

Some people touch your life with their joy and energy. Soren Pedersen left us all with memories of hugs so large and full of heart, time and borders will never take them away.
Keep us in your heart for awhile dear man, you are forever in ours.
The Crimespree Family

Jan 19, 2008

Crimespree #22 - Megan Abbott

Issue 22 of crimespree has been delivered to the mailing service and will be on it's way. Our cover story this time out is Megan Abbott. She talks about writing and her new Anthology HELL OF A WOMAN.

Also in this issue:

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego in pictures

Authors in the Bush by L.C. Hayden

Hey! It’s Ayo!

Footprints: Rex Stout by Linda Mickey

Fiction: PITCH by Michael Penncavage

Web-isodes by Susan Arnout Smith

Cover Story:Megan Abbott

Linda Richards on her latest

Fiction : FIRST TIME HITMAN by Thomas Mollica

Reed Farrel Coleman

Rants and Raves from Robert J Randisi

Rebecca Pawel Interview by Anthony Rainone

Editing Chicago Blues by Libby Hellmann

Extreme Suspense : Fiction for Teens by Amy Allessio

Eye On Hollywood with Jeremy Lynch

DVD Reviews

Conversation with Marcia Muller by Gay Totl Kinman

California Burning by Randall Hicks

Killer Year Redux by JB Thompson

Daughters of Juarez by Ruth Jordan

Fiction: 24/7 SECURITY by JD Rhoades

Interview with Ed Brubaker by Duane Swierczynski

Where Ideas Come From by Gabriel Cohen

Book Reviews

Quick Interview with Ruth Cavin by Steve Hamilton

Crimespree on Comics

Cooking with Crimespree – A recipe from Martyn Waites

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If you subscribe now you can still get this latest issue.

Jan 18, 2008

Guest Blogger - LAURIE KING!

A Community

Laurie King thinks of her nineteenth novel, Touchstone, as a “country house political thriller”— Jack Reacher meets The Remains of the Day. She has been blogging about Touchstone since its beginning, and this month she is on tour with the book, both in person and virtually.

When I was a kid, my family’s chief form of entertainment was our local library. You’d think I would have decided early that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but in fact, my life of being a reader didn’t morph into being a writer until I was well into my thirties.

I occasionally wonder if I would have started writing earlier if I’d ever met a real, live writer, but all those books I brought home, all those stories I drank in, might as well have been beamed down, dust jackets and all, by the little green men in the sky. Those author photos? Probably generated by the same art department that came up with the cover art.

But then I hit my thirties, and like a person who has lived in a foreign country so long she’s learned the language, I started to write. And because I was stubborn and I paid attention and I was lucky, my face was one of those on the books beamed down from the heavens.

And life opened up. If I had problems imagining real-life writers before I became one, well, the idea of an entire community of writers was far, far beyond me.

But that’s what I found. Scattered across the world, linking up at conferences and tours, blessed by the quickness of email, catching news of each other, not over the village well, but in reviews and PW and at bookstores. Some of my closest friends are people I’m lucky to see every year or so, at which time we slip back into friendship as if it were a daily occurrence.

As you might imagine, I keep a close eye on magazines such as Crimespree, both print and online. It functions like a Christmas letter from a really big family: Oh, so THAT’s what they’ve all been up to!

It’s very nice of Ruth and Jon to keep me in touch with my extended family.

  • Book Excerpt

  • Laurie King’s Blog
  • some thoughts on reviewing

    It's around 1:00 in the morning here at the Crimespree world headquarters and I'm awake. Not a surprise to anyone who knows me. I don't sleep much. I just finished some work on our March/April issue of Crimespree and thought I would stroll around the internet for a bit as I am wont to do before going to bed to read for a few hours.

    I ran across something on MySpace that disturbs me. I only check our MySpace pages once a month or so, as I don't really beleive it's worth putting a ton of effort into it. I do get a strange joy of saying Yea or Nay to people requesting freindship. It was during one of the sessions that I came across a ppage for a publicity firm. They offer all sorts of packages to authors who might need help. I won't go into all of this but instead jump to the point.

    They have on staff reviewers who will for a fee review any book sent to them. Different fee rates for different levels of review. The deluxe package includes tear sheet ready pdfs. This really bothers me for a number of reasons.

    First, no one should pay for a review. It automatically is tainted isn't it? I won't get into ethics here really, if a reviewer excepts a gin and tonic from an author they really are not compromising themselves, and any author with any sense at all knows that a cocktail won't buy a good review. What I'm talking about is using paypal or writing a check to someone to read your book and review it. The reviews from this frim go on Barnes and Noble and other public forums. Well, anyone who reads Amazon reviews has an idea of the value of the reviews there, so "nuff said. The reviews also go up on a dedicated website and blog that the company runs.
    My problem with all this is that there are writers out htere who truly wish to be successful, and they are new and don't know any better and these people seem to be preying on them. Is an agent really going to be impressed by a review from (fake name) Fred's Publicity House and Bagels? Any bookstore owners out there going to increase the order based on this? Any editors planning on scooping up this auhtor and signing them fast fast fast based on this paid for review? No. Because the people who are influenced by reviews will recognize it for what it is.

    Reviews are hard to get. I understand. At Crimespree the sheer volume of books compared to what we can actually review is very skewed. Larger markets like the NY Times and Chigago Tribune are even harder to get reviews in. I understand why someone might get desperate for some reviews. But do not pay for them. Be patient. Look around. There are plenty of places to send your book that will not charge for the reviewing.

    Other thoughts rolling around my brain:

    My goals with reviewing have changed over the years. My main goal is to help readers find books that they might otherwise miss. I don't expect people to read one of my reviews and rush out and buy the book. But what I hope is thet someone will see it and say " That looks like something I'd enjoy" and they will look into it further.

    I've read a lot of reviews over my time on this ball of mud and water and some are really great and some suck. I hate reviewers who are more interested in being clever than actually talking about the book. Some reviews are way too long. Some give away spoilers from the book. A certian reviewer on Amazon who claims to read more books a week than any one could imagine frequently give away plot points which ruin the suprise. Shame on you. I also dislike reviews that drift into talking about the author in a demeaning way. Badmouthing a book is one thing, but bad mouthing the author is just childish.

    So, reviews.
    Don't pay for them!

    By the way, Crimespree 22 will ship this weekend. It's a little late because the binders were shut down for the holidays and it messed up their schedule a bit.

    Jan 15, 2008

    Guest Blogger

    Jon and I were recently interviewed and asked our “hobbies”. I declared mine to be mystery and so it is. I passionately believe in good books. Sinking between the sheets and finding a book that makes you forget bedtime is still the most glorious feeling in the world. Everything that has come to me as a member of the mystery community comes from this most basic beginning. My “mystery” may be different than most, but no less or more enthusiastic. There is no such thing as an average fan.
    This morning was a morning to remember. I worked hard this past weekend. Crimespree reviews for the upcoming issue. Bouchercon ‘08 commitments. I still had time for the Pack, barely… and I’m glad that game will be in the cold at Lambeau although I’d hoped for a Cowboys confrontation. And then I realized I’ll be in Houston.
    It is a year full of commitments for “Team Jordan”, Crimespree and Ruth, a woman who drifted on-line one night and found a book club called Womans’ Mystery Wednesdays. This is a year I know will go well and smoothly because of the people in my life. There are personal bumps that I know the mystery community will help get me through, and professional bumps that the books will see me through in just one night.
    The magic of this community is that people seem to know even when they don’t know specifics. Jon and I are trying to keep up with the blog, make it something special. And this January we have our first guest blogger. She’s a lady who’s given me many nights of her hard work in the form of books read nonstop from beginning to end. Her fans all enjoyed a real treat last year when she brought back a character we were all afraid we might not see again, married her with a subject she mastered in another AWARD WINNING series, and created one of my favorite reading experiences ever. And on the bookshelves now….

    You’re all mystery readers, don’t you want to guess???
    Up next a real intro…. but please guess first. it’s always fun.

    The author in question is giving up some signed books to the first 5 people who can guess the identity of our mystery guest blogger.
    The guest post goes up Friday, so you have till then to leave a comment with your guess, or email us at:
    info @crimespreemag.com

    Jan 13, 2008

    Interview with Aaron

    Jason Aaron Interview

    Jason Aaron is the writer and creator of a wonderful graphic novel series called Scalped from Vertigo Comics. This interview ran in a recent issue of Crimespree

    Jon: Jason, I know you are currently working on SCALPED for Vertigo comics right now. How would you describe the series for people who haven’t read it?

    Jason: A hard-boiled crime series set on a modern day Indian reservation in South Dakota involving casino gambling, crooked tribal cops, undercover feds and Native American militants, featuring lots of hell-for-leather action and gritty character drama, plus a heaping helping of raunchy sex and murder mystery.

    Jon: The character of Dash has some real issues. What's the appeal of a character that is so obviously far from perfect?

    Jason: For me, the most interesting characters are always the ones who are flawed. Who can be a hero or a villain, depending on the day of the week. You're right, Dash has plenty of issues, most of them stretching back to his childhood, and we'll continue to explore those in upcoming issues.

    Jon: What inspired a series based on the Reservation?

    Jason: My interest in Native American culture and in particular, the situation on the Pine Ridge rez in the 1970s. Add in the current popularity of Indian gaming and the poor living conditions found on a lot of reservations, and you've got a great setting for a crime series, something that's hard-hitting and still has a socially relevant edge.

    Jon: I know that Azzarello has a definite ending point set up for 100 BULLETS, how long do you envision SCALPED running?

    Jason: There is a definite ending point, and definite arcs mapped out for all of these characters, but I don't have a specific issue number in mind. And even if I did, I probably wouldn't say, just because I don't want to be bound by that.

    Jon: You also did THE OTHER SIDE for Vertigo, a Viet Nam story from a double perspective with a very different feel than more typical War comics. What brought you to write a Nam story?

    Jason: My cousin was Gustav Hasford, the Vietnam Vet who wrote the novel that Full Metal Jacket was based on. I'd been spending years researching his life and work for a biography, so the Vietnam War had become a huge obsession for me. And as a comic fan, I was anxious to see a story about the war that looked at the conflict from both perspectives.

    Jon: Is it just me or do you think Cameron Stewart went above and beyond the call of duty by traveling to Viet Nam before drawing the series?

    Jason: Most definitely. I first met him at the San Diego Con that year, right before he left for Vietnam. So I felt a little like Robert McNamara back in the day, shaking hands with the troops and then seeing them off, saying "Keep your head down over there." Cameron's enthusiasm for the project was evident from day one and lasted throughout the whole process. I'm incredibly proud of the work he did on THE OTHER SIDE.

    Jon: You also have a series with Top Cow called RIPCLAW coming out. Your blog calls it “A dark meditation on violence”. What do you have in mind for this series?

    Jason: It's actually a one-shot that's part of Top Cow's Pilot Season program, where they're doing a handful of one-shots starring Top Cow characters, and once they're all out, fans will be able to vote on which one they'd like to see more of. With my story, I just tried to give a new direction and purpose to a character that has mostly been seen as just a copy of Wolverine. I had a blast doing it and would love to
    follow up with the character.

    Jon: Anything else coming soon?

    Jason: I just did a dark, little stand-alone story in WOLVERINE #156 that seems to be getting a great response. And I'm already following that up with more work for Marvel.

    Jon: I’m guessing that as a writer and as someone who majored in English that you enjoy reading. Outside of comics what do you like to read and who are some of your favorite authors?

    Jason: Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy are two guys who are sort of in a class by themselves, as far as I'm concerned. And even though I haven't read any of his work since college, when I devoured it all, I think I'm still heavily influenced by William Faulkner. These days, I'm mostly just reading the Hard Case Crime series of paperbacks and whatever non-fiction book I need to check out for research purposes.

    Jon: How do you like to spend your free time?

    Jason: Free time? What is this thing you speak of called "free time"?

    Jon: What's the coolest thing about writing comics for a living?

    Jason: Not having to go outside and do a real job. For real though, this has to be the greatest job ever. I get paid to make up stories, how cool is that?