Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Sunday, November 21, 2010

For the Crime-Loving Cookbook Collector

As it's getting toward Christmas, it's time to start looking at those Christmas lists. Here are two very different cookbooks, both of them with connections to crime. First up there's Shane Bugbee's Cooking With a Serial Killer--recipes from grandmotherly serial killer Dorothea Puente, who was known for the delicious meals she served to her boarding house guests.

Then there's Susan Whitfield's Killer Recipes Cookbook, a collection of recipes contributed by mystery writers with the proceeds going to cancer research. For background on the cookbook, click here; to buy the book, go here. The Kindle edition is only $4.69.

Dearly Departed at NoHo Noir

There's a new installment of NoHo Noir up at The "Noir" is subtle on this one but it's there. I'm still introducing characters but along about Christmas, you'll see some story arcs beginning to emerge. (My initial contract is just for three months, and that'll be up early in the new year, so just in case I don't get "renewed," I do want to tie off some of the story threads.)

As you can see, the story is illustrated by another great piece of art by Mark Satchwill. You can see more of his art on his site, but also in the upcoming Dark Valentine Magazine winter issue. The winter issue of Dark Valentine will be available Friday, December 3.

One of the things about the stories appearing on is that I'm visiting the site several times a day and they publish hyper-local crime news. I never knew my little corner of the world was so ... crime-infested. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

I hope you like the story. If you do, please click on "recommend." Or leave a comment. My editors love comments and so do I. Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do it again, harder!

I am not a fan of remakes. Seriously, it's gotten silly. When I heard that the "classic" Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent movie The Mechanic was being remade, my response was pretty much a shrug. Even when I heard Jason Statham was going to be in it, I still wasn't all that enthusiastic. But then I saw the trailer and it looks...badass.

Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood has the most recent trailer at her site. You can see it here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New at NoHo Noir--15 Items or Less

This week at NoHo Noir, a trophy wife and an unimpressed supermarket checker go mano a mano in the express line. There's a bit at the end, where the trophy wife--who's wearing a quarter-million dollar watch--tries to use an expired coupon. That was inspired by a story I once heard about Bill Gates holding up a line because he had a five-cent off coupon for some ice cream. I don't know if it's true--it's so deliciously snarky--but it makes for a great story.

If you're following the series you'll note the tattooed guy in line behind the trophy wife is Chris from "House Blend" who ended up with the wrong Jessica on his coffee date. We'll see him again. We'll also see the wife and the checker again.

I hope you enjoy 15 Items or Less.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby (Not)

Most of the time I really don't think about gender in publishing. I learned a long time ago that the best place to meet unattached male writers in LA was at a WGA union meeting where men outnumber women by a huge margin, but as far as publishing, I read mostly mysteries and urban fiction, two genres where women rule. Or so I thought. She Writes, a website resource for women writers has put together a post that shows a shocking disparity in critical acclaim for female vs. male writers.

Here are just a few of the stats they culled from 2009:

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009
71 Men
29 Women

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2009

10 Men
0 Women

Washington Post Best Books of 2009

69 Men
17 Women

57 Men
27 Women

Slate- Best Reads of 2009

15 Men
7 Women

As a woman writer, I find this just a little depressing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fly Your French Flag!

Laurel Zuckerman's Paris Weblog is sponsoring a new contest for the best short story about Paris. Here's everything you need to know: Deadline: November 30.

Prize: 200 euros plus publication of top 12 stories in a book called "The Best and Most Delightful Stories About Paris"
Entry fee: 10 euros (paypal)
Finalist judges : Nicola Keegan, Janet Skeslien Charles, Elizabeth Bard, Charles Trueheart, Brian Spence, Charles and Clydette De Groot, Cara Black, Anne Korkeakivi, Heather Stimmler Hall, Penelope Fletcher, Robert Stewart, and Diane Johnson.
Open to writers worldwide.

Restrictions: Maximum 5,000 words. Submission in the body of the email (no attachments, please)

For info and submissions go here.

Even if you're not a writer, you should check out Laurel's blog if you're a francophile. Tons of great links and news of interest.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New fiction at NoHo Noir

A picture really is worth a thousand words, isn't it? The image here is by Mark Satchwill, who is my partner in crime over at NoHo Noir, where each week we chronicle the lives of a diverse set of characters whose stories intersect and converge in unexpected ways. This week's story is called "Aftermath" and it's about a cop, a paramedic and a beat-down. Here's an excerpt:

Ethan hated car crashes. He hated them more than murder scenes and he’d seen enough murder scenes to know his preference wasn’t theoretical.

It wasn’t the blood. Ethan once worked a case where a murderer had used his wife’s blood to repaint the kitchen and then sat down at the table to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One of the crime scene techs had puked when he first walked in but Ethan hadn’t been bothered at all.

The thing about murder was—and he’d thought about it—in the end there was always a reason somebody ended up dead, even if that reason was that some douche just got up in the morning and decided it was a good day for someone to die.

Car crashes though—they were just random events, hiccups of fate unless you subscribed to chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics where everything could be predicted from simple, deterministic equations. Ethan had never been particularly good at math so he just went with random. Read the rest of the story at: NoHo Noir

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Win a Napa Valley Experience

I love sweepstakes like this. I know they're marketing ploys but I like the idea of winning time in Napa with a plus one. If you do too, here's where you enter.

Words. Words. Words.

1662 words yesterday. (I know...would it have killed me to add four more words to get to the magic 1666 that NaNo recommends?)

Nine hundred 35 so far today.

I've been thinking about numbers as well a words. My father died on 10/29, which is also my best friend's birthday. His father was born on 6/15, which is my brother's birthday. My sister's birthday is today and it would have been a ZERO birthday for her. She would have hated that.

On my last birthday I marked the age that our mother was when she died...Sounds like I'm being morbid, doesn't it? But it's just the calculus of existence. My brother and I are only 21 months apart and now we both wonder, sometimes, which one of us will be the last. (Like the Highlander, there can be only one.) Neither of us was particularly lucky in the genetic lottery but we've tried to adapt. He's very fit, with the lean body of a runner. But he smokes. I don't run unless I'm rushing somewhere but I don't have a lot of bad habits either. It makes us even I think. Mostly it makes us both sad to know we've outlived our baby sister. And I think it still surprises both of us that the grief is still so raw after three years. Three years? Another number.

Then there are the other numbers that matter. Today's election day. If you haven't voted already, go do so. If you haven't? Don't complain to me...

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's November...Hit the ground running...

Up until last year, I'd never heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Last year, thanks to Facebook in particular and social networking in general, it was everywhere with its challenge to write 50,000 words in just one month. (That's roughly 1666 words a day if you don't have your calculator handy.) I can do 1666 words a day standing on my head. The tricky part is linking them together to get 50,000 words of a novel...

The idea is that you're supposed to start something new on November 1st and then emerge a month later with 50,000 words. Of course, 52,000 words is not quite a novel-length manuscript, but no one seems to quibble abut that.

I've decided to use the NaNoWriMo challenge as a spur to help me finish my novel Misbegotten. It's been sitting in a file on my hard drive for awhile now. I'm afraid if it stays there much longer it will never see the light of day. (Although, since some of its characters are vampires, that might be a good thing.)

There are widgets and applications that can help writers keep track of their word counts. Some of them are here. But I'm going to do it the old fashioned way. My friend novelist Christine Pope tells me to think of a novel being built one chapter, one short story at a time. I'm taking her advice to heart. I already have roughly 25,000 words of Misbegotten written. If all goes well, this time next month, I'll have 75,000 words. And that is a book.

Wish me luck...