Thursday, June 12, 2008

Designs for the GW Bush Presidential Library

Just found this on The Chronicle which is where academics like myself go to get wound up or be bored. Still, thought it looked funny. Don't have audio, so I've no idea what they're saying...

Let me know if the link works.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Greatest Mystery Short Story Writer Ever

I wrote a review this morning where I claimed Steve Hockensmith was one of the greatest mystery short story writers of all time. Though quite possibly Steve agrees with me and is nodding his head right now, that may be a useless claim.

Let me throw out some names: Steve Hockensmith, IJ Parker, Russel McLean, Martin Limon, G. Miki Hayden. Each of these writers makes me pick up and BUY any anothology or copy of EQMM or AHMM I see their names in. I find their stories more than just solid crime writing. Their characters move me, sometimes pretty near to tears. Not an easy thing to do in a few short pages. There. You have my criteria. Good stories with characters I care about. I can add names to my list, but discuss. Make the list longer. Tell me about writers I haven't mentioned. I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of great writers.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Over at Sarah Weinman's blog, there is some discussion based on the article I told you all about yesterday. Did you read it? Go ahead. I 'll wait.

Anyway, it turns out there's a quote in the article about how lonely it can be to go to Bouchercon if your a latino author. (More or less a paraphrase - probably more closely to how it was taken to how it was meant, but whatever...I'm a creative writer.)

In the comments section, I've added fuel for the fire (just a little. I'm not a controversial man...) In any event, part of that fuel has to do with an incident that happened years ago when I was first starting out. I visisted a bookstore where I was told they probably wouldn't be selling many of my books since few latinos entered the store. Of course, I was in the store at the time and any hint that latinos don't buy books is wide of the mark. They may not have the disposable cash, and there may be a lot of other problems, but I know plenty of latinos and many buy books. Whatever.

Since then, I've wondered why latinos would not go into that store to buy books. Here's a possibility - few latinos know of latino authors. I've had hundreds of peope email me to say they were browsing in a store when they came across one of my titles...they then break into telling me how proud they are to know a fellow latino, etc. The readers are there. Some writers are there. The channels of communication, however, are not the greatest. (It's the challenge facing every author who wants to promote to a niche market.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

As Seen in the New York Daily News...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Reading Ruth Rendell

The people at the now defunct Black Orchid Bookshop (A glorious store) sold me a copy of From Doon With Death by Ruth Rendell. It's the first Inspector Wexford novel. Now, though I tend to write shoot'em ups, I do enjoy the occassional polite police detective story and apparently Rendell is one of the best at it.

In this story, a housewife goes missing, soon to be found dead. Strangled, in fact. An array of suspects needs to be whittled down and, of course, some are easily discarded due to alibis or other reasons. Still, Wexford is left with several people who need to be pressed*.

The pressing happens and the riddle is solved.

On the whole, I found the experience a bit cold. The prose is solid, the plot is sans hole, but the Inspector is about as colorless a main character as I've ever read. I assume Wexford takes off and becomes memorable in other volumes in the series. Otherwise, I can't see a reason to call the story "An Inspector Wexford Mystery."

While the plot was okay, it wasn't enough to carry the story on its shoulders to greatness. A good book, but certainly not the best I've read so far this year.

* Pressed, but not like with an iron. That would have been a very different novel. Probably an Inspector Brant from Mr. Bruen.