Dec 31, 2009

New Years cooking

Tonight we are cooking Peposa, a recipe from the latest issue by Brian Azzarello. Easy to prepare and the house already smell awesome.
Printable Recipe can be found here:

Dec 21, 2009

Crimespree on the road

Mrs. Crimespree and I have taken a year end trip to visit her grandmother for Christmas in Williamsburg VA.
The trip started with an adventure, which we expected. An over night delay in Atlanta. They have smoking lounges and coffee, so we were fine, just tired.
The snow here is already gone, we saw leaf blowers out today. Temps are nice compared to Wisconsin. We've been eating great and enjoying ourselves.

We're reading a lot and relaxing. A nice end to a pretty damn fine year.

Hope every one gets a chance to relax as the year winds down and that we all go into 2010 ready to rock and in great spirits!

Dec 11, 2009


For over a year now I have been hearing doom and gloom. There have been layoffs, cutbacks and a lot of scrambling around. There is also a lot of time and energy spent trying to place blame on why sales may be down. The economy, Kindle, weather, plagues of locusts. US publishers need to stop worrying about people buying UK books. It's time to stop trying to assign the blame and move forward.

Publishers need to stop and take a breath.
Publishers need to re focus where they are putting their energy, and yes, their money. Stop catering to the media, the book sellers, the distributors and yes, even the authors. I'm not saying ignore these people, that would be stupid. But stop putting all your energy there.

Where should the energy go?

It comes back to the very core of doing business.
The customer is always right.
Book sellers tell the publisher what their customers want. But it's impossible for that not to be biased toward what the book sellers need. The same is true for distributors. Publishers need to get a direct line to the consumer un filtered by blogs ans media and people with a financial investment.

Want to break out an author? A blog tour is not the answer. Mass emails won't do it. Even massive advertising is only so effective. Want to get people to pick up a new author?

Drop the price. Steve Hamilton is poised for a break out. Why isn't THE LOCK ARTIST priced at $19.99? or even cheaper? Why don't publishers take a whole bunch of authors first books and drop the price of paperbacks to $2.99 to get people to try a series? Michael Connelly is ready to jump to the next level? Why not sell the next book at a really nice price break and get more people to buy it when it comes out in hardcover? Or how about a one time BIG discount for book stores so they can really push it at a great price?

And while it is expensive, author tours are still effective. Readers meet authors and they make a connection, they feel invested in the author after they meet. It builds long lasting fan bases. People talk about meeting authors for months and even years after an event.

You want US readers to stop buying UK versions of books? Release them at the same time. Why should I wait a year or longer to read a book by Val McDermid when I can go on the internet and in five minutes order it and have it in under a week?

How many authors have back list that has gone out of print? Too damn many. I won't name names, but I could list a plenty of authors that were sabotaged by their own publishing houses bu not having the earlier books available in paperback. Some of then didn't get a chance to go out of print, they never even did paperbacks. People don't want to buy a third or fourth book in a series if they can't get the earlier ones.

Want to generate some buzz for a new author? Why not send a pile of arcs of the new Tim Dorsey to some libraries to use in their book clubs? You can hit groups that are reading and talking about books because they love to read. Damn good chance when the next book comes out a bunch of those people will be new fans and buy the book. If nothing else, they will be talking about it to other readers, and that's something you can't buy with an ad.

A lot of this comes back to something I have been ranting about for over a year now. It's not all about numbers, it's about readers. The more readers an author has, the more successful they will be.
Vertigo comics makes all their first issues available for free on the website. Why not make authors first books available for a free down load? Get some one hooked on that first book they will want to buy the rest. The hardest part of this business is getting someone to open the book. Once they start reading, chances are you have them. So why not make that first step easier?

The whole e-book debate is out of control as well. E-books will not replace hard copies. They will be selling more and more, but they won't eliminate hardcovers and paperbacks. Want to generate sales on a new hardcover? Why not take a page from the Hollywood playbook. Offer a free down load with the purchase of a hardcover. A one time use code with the new Robert Crais book. Buy the hardcover and you can download an-e book of it for free.

And on something related, I am tired of bookstores blaming poor sales on Amazon. They have been around a long time now and aren't going anywhere. How do you compete? Do what you are best at, hand selling and customer service. That's why stores like Murder by the Book in Houston and Once Upon a Crime are still open. Customer service. (the customer is always right)

Do I have all the answers? No. What I do have is a lot of time spent talking with readers and authors and booksellers and publishers.

Publishers do need to listen to book stores, distributors and media. But I think it's time they REALLY start listening to the people who are spending the money, the readers.Lets stop trying to figure out who or what to blame and look instead to the future. There are a lot of readers out there and there are a lot of good books. Lets get the them together!

We work with some wonderful people in publishing who love what they do and it shows. The same is true of a lot of book sellers we've met. people who do this because they love the books and they love to read. So thanks to you all for not going for the high paying corporate jobs and doing what you do instead. We appreciate it.

Dec 10, 2009


In 2005, when I decided to create Cotton Malone in The Templar Legacy, I struggled with the challenge of predictability. Creating a fictional world and a cast of characters, fleshing them out over the course of many novels, came with the fear that readers will eventually place you in the category of a Disney movie ----- no matter what happens, everything will always be okay ---- the series shall continue. So far, Cotton has experienced 4 adventures. The Templar Legacy, The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, and The Charlemagne Pursuit. The Paris Vendetta is his fifth. With this new story, I decided to turn his world on it's ear. Just as in real life where nothing ever stays the same, nothing is going to stay the same from Cotton either. I want the reader to lose that comfort level. In fact, there's no telling what may happen --- certainly what the reader will least expect. Is this risky? You bet. Is it exciting? Oh, yeah. The next four books will be exciting. It'll be interesting to see if readers agree with this course. It's certainly making the writing fun. One thing I know for sure: no one will be able to call a Steve Berry novel predictable.

Happy Holiday!!

I confess it has been four weeks and three days since my last blog. But the holidays begin this weekend in earnest and, so I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all who have been a part of our lives. Those who know us and those who don't.

As a reader, many people have taken me places I wanted to go and taught me more than a little about the difference between life as I see it, life as I want it and life as it truly is.
For those of you who write in our favorite genre, thanks for this.
For my fellow readers thank you so much for this, to find an individual has the same or a different opinion of a mutual read is heartwarming.
To those who keep the books coming and find us new writers to read, well, thanks for being my corner boy.... there is simply no other way to put this. You give me more of that which I love every day.
As we head off to the holiday season know that you all are for me so special and keep me warm even on a day when I'm wearing three pair of socks.

Lastly , thank you to my partner Jon, who makes me look at life with rose colored glasses each and every day... You rock my world Jon Jordan.