Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Introducing: Mickey Cozart--cozy sleuth

One of the reasons I moved from L.A. is that I wanted more time to write. Now that I've been herein Bellingham six months, I've been able to go through my pending projects and start getting them into shape. Joy Sillesen of Indie Author Services  has been helping me with that--providing covers and formatting and other assistance. Check out Indie Author Services here.
I've been writing a lot of fantasy lately, which is fun, but my heart will always belong to mysteries. This is the first of what I envision as a three-book series about Mickey Cozart, a woman of a certain age whose best friend is an actress making the awkward transition from leading lady to character actress. (She keeps losing parts to Glenn Close.) She has a daughter whose best friend is a gay man who works as a production designer on a "pretty people" show on the CW. Mickey--which was my mother's nickname--is a no-nonsense type who was widowed early. She met her husband when she was waitressing at a pie place near JPL where he worked. He was 20 years older. He died when she was 37 and she still misses him, even though she has a full life. But there's this cop...
I have been working on this book on and off for a few years. Some of it even got written longhand during the hours I was sitting at the eye clinic waiting for the monthly shots of Lucentis to wear off. (And wasn't it a treat tramscribing those scribbles?) Unlike a LOT of the stuff I write, this is a book I think my mother would have enjoyed. I hope so anyway. It'll be out this summer. Finally.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Masterclass with James Patterson

As you know, I habitually cruise Craigslist looking for jobs and gigs. I'm on there enough that I've seen the same scams posted over and over ("Quick, fast writing gig") and noted the emergence of the phony Yelp rating business and marveled at the unbelievable gall of people who are trolling for people to exploit. But I've also made about 50 percent of my income from CL ads in the last eight years and among the gigs I scored was one beta-testing this MASTERCLASS WITH JAMES PATTERSON.

Yes, I was paid to take a class (complete iwth workbooks and assignments) that is being offered to the public for $90.  the "lessons" are edited from a series of interviews and in them Patterson takes his "students" through his process--from getting ideas (one of the lessons I found most engaging) to marketing. Along the way he tells some engaging stories.

You might want to check it out.  Here's more information on the people behind the Masterclass concept.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Blood Ties by Nicholas Gjuild

My review of Nicholas Guild's Blood Ties is live over at Criminal Element. In it I ponder sexism in crime fiction and note that in a book written by a guy, the women are strong and dimensional. And just saying that seems sexist to me. But I have gotten awfully tired of seeing women crime writers ignored or shuffled to the side or marginalized or dismissed or ignored. But I'm repeating myself. I enjoyed Blood Ties and wouldn't mind seeing more in the series.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

REVIEW The Devil's Making by Sean Haldane



The Devil's Making by Sean Haldane--a review

 Darwin and the edge of the Empire

Amateur naturalist Chad Hobbes—the atheist son of a preacher—has come to the colony of British Columbia to learn a bit about life before he settles down to a life as a lawyer. Unfortunately for Chad, he’s just missed the Gold Rush, which means that nobody in Vancouver or nearby Victoria really needs a lawyer. But what they do need is a policeman. The wilderness settlement has several police officers but none with Hobbes’ particular set of skills. The idea of being a “peeler” appeals to Hobbes and he’s soon thrust into the heart of a murder mystery that has racial and colonial implications.

Hobbes is fascinated by his duties and dutifully records everything he observes in a leather-bound journal his mother gave him before he left home. There’s plenty to observe. Elections are pending and one of the questions is whether B.C. will become part of America. Passions run high on both sides of the question but not as high as when an American “alienist” is found dead and the most likely suspect is a medicine man.
Sean Haldane’s novel transcends genre here with its literate (but never ponderously literary) style and the sharp observations on everything from class to vegetation. (Hobbes is fascinated by the quality of blue in the sky, so different from the English sky back home.)
Fans of historical mysteries are in for a treat with this book.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hullabaloo over the Hugos

I can't believe I didn't know about this for a whole month.
somehow, possibly because I'm juggling an implacable publishing deadline with the annual meat grinder that is prepping my clients for the Cannes festival, I somehow didn't know about the messy political scandal that has rocked the Hugo Awards. (Read about it here. Katy Waldman of Slate, you are my hero!)

When I first heard about the gaming of the system, it was disappointing but I spent decades in L.A. where gaming the system at awards time is a fine art. (Remember how many people were shocked, SHOCKED that Pia Zadora got a Golden Globe Award?)

But I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. I write it now. And the stories I write and the characters I create reflect the world I live in. Complicated. Diverse. And women do more than open hailing frequencies and get rescued from towers.

The idea that there are writers out there who are trying to hijack two entire genres of writing to advance their political agenda is just not tolerable. I'm not a member of the WSFS but even so, I have skin in the game. Because I love these genres. And it is a delight to discover writers whose work inspires me. And entertains me. Call me a "pissypants" if you like (see above Slate article) but what that cabal of writers did will NEVER be okay for me. And it wouldn't be okay if they'd had a liberal, left-leaning agenda either.

On the official Hugo Awards site, the list of people and publications withdrawing is mounting but they're not addressing the elephant in cyberspace. It's going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out by August, when the ceremony is supposed to happen.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Nearly noir and something more...

Full disclosure--I was the developmental editor for this book. The writer found me through a CraigsList ad and trusted me with his raw manuscript. Now, almost a year later, the book has been published. (the cover conceit, in case you can't tell, is meant to be a throwback to 50s style "girlie magazines." When you read the book, you'll see why.)
Jason Lustmann (not his real name, but you wouldn't recognize his real name anyway) is not a household name. But he could be.
I say that because I've read his next book, SEX SLAVES, and it's even better than JERKOFF. In fact, I will say right now that if the author had the full weight of a publishing house marketing team behind him, they'd be booking him on every talk show there is. Remember James Frey's A MILLION LITTLE PIECES?  This book is better. It's fiction based on fact and not the other way around.
(And what actually happened to talk shows, anyway? Was Oprah the last woman standing?)
The writing in JERKOFF reminds me of the writing of:
Chuck Palahniuk
Arthur Nersessian
Paul Neilan
One of the things that really hooked me about the book is that the author had a real knack for balancing really painful truths against really hilarious moments. Jason's not only looked into the abyss, he's spit in the eye of the monster who looked back at him.
this is a book about survival.
And redemption.
And hope.
And it's also about sex. And porn. And obsession.
Ultimately, it's about life.
You should read it.
Because it's that good.
Find it here.