Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Why did Santa choose reindeer to pull his sleigh across the globe on Christmas night? Are Rudolph and Blitzen the stuff of legend, or are they real? And are the eight flying reindeer the best animal to pilot the toy maker and his elves to the homes of believers? enature.com knows the answers.
"While Dasher and Prancer and the gang are the stuff of legend, reindeer are not. These large deer live in northerly climes, in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Arctic. In Eurasia (and the North Pole) they are called reindeer and in North America more commonly caribou, but they are all the same species.
"The wild herds of Alaska and Canada are known for their mass migrations, while large numbers of those in Eurasia are domesticated, raised for fur, meat, milk, and as work animals. Whether you call them reindeer or caribou, one thing is certain: they are physically well suited to pull a sleigh full of toys and a right jolly old elf.
Questions and Antlers
"Dasher and Dancer and Blitzen and the rest -- sport antlers. Does this mean that all of them (even Vixen?) are males? Not exactly -- in fact, it almost means the opposite. Reindeer and caribou are unique among deer in that the females grow antlers, too. And even more interesting is the fact that the females retain their antlers from one spring till the next, while mature males shed their antlers in the fall -- and are unadorned on Christmas Eve. So the creatures that pull Santa's sleigh must be females or youngsters. Of course, it's entirely possible that a male reindeer with the power to fly also has the power to keep his antlers through the holidays.
All-Terrain Feet
"The caribou or reindeer ... has an all-terrain foot. The animal's remarkable hoof actually adapts itself to the season -- becoming a sort of ice skate in the winter and sneaker in spring. The caribou of North America can run at speeds of almost 50 miles per hour and may travel 3,000 miles in a year. Luckily, the animal is helped along by its amazingly adaptable footpads. In the summer, when the tundra is soft and wet, the footpads become spongy like the soles of tennis shoes and provide extra traction. In the winter, when snow and ice coat the North, the pads shrink and firm up, while the rim of the hoof, like an ice skate's blade, bites into the ice and crusted snow to keep the animal from slipping.
"Sounds like the perfect footwear for an animal that needs to come to a flying stop on an ice-encrusted rooftop in the dark of the night!
Fur Float
"Given its geographic preferences, a reindeer has to have a pretty warm coat. In fact, the coat has two layers of fur, a dense woolly undercoat and longer-haired overcoat. The outer coat consists of hollow, air-filled hairs that give the animal such buoyancy when it enters water that only the lower two-thirds of its body submerges. A caribou or reindeer swims with ease and good speed, and migrating herds will not hesitate to swim across a large lake or broad river. If Santa ever decides to take to the seas rather than the air, he is in good hands."
From enature.com

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Monday, December 20, 2010


Wake up, sleepyhead and see the sky. On December 21 a lunar eclipse will last for three-and-a-half hours from its start as a partial eclipse at 1:33 a.m. ET to its finish at 5:01 a.m. ET, according to NASA. The previous lunar eclipse occurred June 26.

During a lunar eclipse you'll see an array of color changes as the moon, the Earth, and the sun align so that the sun's rays are shielded from the moon. An eclipse of the moon can only take place if the moon is full,.

The moon will pass through the Earth's umbra - shadow - which blocks sunlight from reaching the moon. The moon will take on a dramatic red color, so says NASA.

Before and after the total eclipse, the moon will pass through the penumbra, or outer region of the Earth's shadow, where Earth blocks some of the sun's rays, but not all.

If you live in North America, Greenland and Iceland and Western Europe you'll see the beginning stages of the eclipse. Western Asia sees the later stages after moonrise.

Compiled from News Sources and NASA

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Please take the time to address a Christmas card to a Recovering American military man or woman when you're addressing your Christmas cards this year.

A Recovering American in Uniform (you can specify Soldier, Sailor or Marine)
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
6900 Georgia Avenue,
NW Washington, DC 20307-5001.

If everyone sends one card, think how many cards these women and men who sacrificed their safety and lives to keep us safe and free, will receive.

Gerrie Ferris Finger


Sunday, November 21, 2010


A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month, but other sources define it differently. The Farmer's Almanac defines blue moon as a fourth full moon in a season. If a season had four full moons, then the third full moon was named a blue moon. Odd, because that defines it in retrospect.

Curiously, often times the moon appears bluish, perhaps because of smoke (from volcanoes) or dust particles., or maybe people see blue because it's a blue moon.

Blue moon is also used colloquially to mean something that rarely happens, or, once in a blue moon.

Songwriters Rodgers and Hart gave it an additional meaning. In their song, Blue Moon, the protagonist of the song is relating a story of a stroke of luck so unlikely it must have taken place beneath a full moon, and since blue is also the color of sadness, this rare event is personified by a blue moon taking pity on a poor lonely, loveless singer.

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, Without a dream in my heart, Without a love of my own, Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for, You heard me saying a prayer for, Someone I really could care for.

And then there suddenly appeared before me, Someone my arms could really hold, I heard you whisper "Darling please adore me," And when I looked to the moon it had turned to gold,
Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone, Without a dream in my heart, Without a love of my own.
Happy Blue Moon Month
Gerrie Ferris Finger

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I got a call from a writer friend; a midlister who worries from contract to contract. She has three books with an intermediate indie publisher and worries if they'll buy her next book in the series.
Did I say worries twice? You already know my friend. Miss Anxiety.
I tell her to recover that feeling she had when she wrote her first book, or the first book the publisher bought.
"I used to think writing was fun," she said.
"It still can be," I said.
"I feel like an athlete. Over the hill and off the playing field - if I don't come up with a big plot and marvelous characters."
"You have a series; you've done that."
"What if they get stale?"
What if, what if? Miss Anxiety has become a stuck disc.
I'm a writer; and I suffer an occasional bout of the doubts, but I still think writing is fun. Not every manuscript I produce is going to be a winner with readers, editors, publishers… But I know when I wrote it, it was fun.
I wish I had more encouraging words for my friend, an elixir for writing-is-fun work. I've known her for years and I think her anxiety comes through in her work, which is a plus, because she writes edgy noir fiction.
Now, for me, it's back to the playing field.
Gerrie Ferris Finger

Friday, November 12, 2010


I can't stress enough the power of book clubs. I appeared at the Rivermont Women's Book Club in Atlanta this week. The members were so excited to have a "real live author" talk about her book. Brunch and mimosas over, we settled down to a white glove grilling. These women, after all, are southerners.

Afterward, I signed copies of my book. At other clubs, members share books or get them from libraries, which is fine. As authors we're really looking to build our brand by word of mouth. But these women bought their own copies. If they had ebooks, I signed bookmarks for them. Such a great time.

Next day, the secretary of the club got in touch with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (a newspaper from which I retired) and they ran an item about me and the book club. The hits on my website went out the roof, just like when the AJC reviewed my book.

Libraries and book clubs - do them.

Gerrie Ferris Finger THE END GAME

Saturday, November 6, 2010


In 1981, Kathryn Falk established the Romantic Times magazine for romance readers to get the scoop on the newest romances and authors in the genre. The Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards are awarded to the best books of the year by the staff of the magazine, as they express their readers’ preferences.

Romantic Times (RT) Reviewers’ Choice Award nominations for 2010: Good luck to all contestants and winners

*Best Contemporary Mystery:

212, by Alafair Burke (Harper)

Pray for Silence, by Linda Castillo (Minotaur)

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin (Morrow)

On the Line, by S.J. Rozan (Minotaur)

Moonlight Mile, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)

*Best Historical Mystery:

City of Dragons, by Kelli Stanley (Minotaur)

An Impartial Witness, by Charles Todd (Morrow)

Royal Blood, by Rhys Bowen (Prime Crime)

The Demon’s Parchment, by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur)

Dark Road to Darjeeling, by Deanna Raybourn (Mira)

*Best First Mystery:

Blacklands, by Belinda Bauer (Simon & Schuster)

The Ark, by Boyd Morrison (Touchstone)

Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s Press)

Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Devoured by D.E. Meredith (Minotaur)

*Best Suspense/Thriller Novel:

Eight Days to Live, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)

Broken, by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte)

Live to Tell, by Lisa Gardner (Bantam)

They’re Watching, by Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin’s Press)

One Grave Less, by Beverly Connor (Obsidian)

*Best Amateur Sleuth Novel:

Ghouls Gone Wild, by Victoria Laurie (Obsidian)

Bone Appetit, by Carolyn Haines (Minotaur)

Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme, by Carole Nelson Douglas (Forge)

The Quick and the Thread, by Amanda Lee (Obsidian)

A Nose for Justice, by Rita Mae Brown (Ballantine)

Winners will be announced during the 2011 RT Book Lovers’ Convention, in Los Angeles, April 6-10.

Friday, November 5, 2010


November 5 begins festivities for Guy Fawkes Day in England. Also known as Bonfire Night, it celebrates the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605 led by none other than Guy Fawkes. He and a group of English Catholics sought to blow up the king and members of Parliament for repressing Roman Catholics in England.

Bonfire and fireworks will light up the British sky and an effigy of Fawkes will be burnt because a bunch of English Catholics left a charge of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords to get Protestant King James I overthrown and replaced with a Catholic head of state. The king survived, Fawkes was arrested and children through the English ages have begged for a "penny for the guy", to buy fireworks.

Enjoy your day, your night, and your bangers and mash, Great Britain.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A DEADLY DINNER - Share a bite with eight crime scene authors

On October 23, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, A Deadly Dinner will be held at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun, Georgia.

A lovely sit-down catered dinner will be provided, and you will have time to meet and chat with all eight crime fiction authors.

The roster includes:

- Mignon Ballard

- Kathleen Delaney

- Mary Anna Evans

- Gerrie Ferris Finger

- Marion Moore Hill

- Randy Rawls

- Fran Stewart

- Jaden E. Terrell

Cost of attendance is a measly $25, and there will be many, many autographed books given away as door prizes, as well as the opportunity to get books signed by the authors.

This is the first time the event will be held, and literary events of this nature are important, even in less cosmopolitan areas, and if you are (or will be) in the southeastern U.S., I encourage you to check out the event on the website, and possibly register to attend the dinner. We'd love to have you there!


Sponsors include the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Wolfmont Press, Kevin M. Weeks (author), Barnes & Noble Booksellers of Rome, GA, and others.

Written by Tony Burton

Posted by Gerrie Ferris Finger

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



by Kathleen Hills

Poisoned Pen Press, January 2008

hard cover,316 pages

ISBN: 978-1-59058-476-7

The author of this novel has a strong background in rural America, particularly in the Upper Midwest. It shows in many of the nuances that affect the progress of this story. The novel is replete with icons of small towns, some of which are isolated from the mainstream.

The book is set in the tiny Upper Peninsula Michigan town of St. Adele where once again we ride along with one of the most reluctant and phlegmatic lawmen we are likely ever to encounter. His name is John McIntyre and he is the town constable. He didn't want the job in the first place and he can think of a hundred things he'd rather be doing and places he'd rather be than the sun-blasted hay field of former conscientious objector, Ruben Hofer.

Hofer has been murdered, that's plain to see. His head was blasted open by a rifle shot while he sat on his tractor raking hay. It is almost immediately clear that the man's family is one likely source of murderous intent. Hofer was not a nice man. He drove his two teen-aged sons in cruel and oppressive ways; and his eleven-year-old daughter, Claire, has already been pushed to warped and dangerous attitudes about life. His wife is morbidly over-weight and only the youngster, Joey, constantly playing with his make-believe farm in the yard outside the kitchen of the school-house-turned-family-home, seems almost normal.

Author Hills continues to invest her stories with an array of intriguing characters although I got a little tired of the sheriff's on-again-off-again almost incompetent investigation. Moreover, the two teen-agers do not become distinct characters in this book until very late, which I found to be a weakness.

Nevertheless, the story is informed by very real human emotions and conflicts and the author's handling of the religious, political and historical elements of the book tell us she has done careful research. The book is, as is true of all her books, well-written.

Carl Brookins

http://www.carlbrookins.com/, http://www.agora2.blogspot.com/

Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I got a call from a writer friend; a midlister who worries from contract to contract. She has three books with an intermediate indie publisher and worries if they'll buy her next book in the series.

Did I say worries twice? You already know my friend. Miss Anxiety.

I tell her to recover that feeling she had when she wrote her first book, or the first book the publisher bought.

"I used to think writing was fun," she said.

"It still can be," I said.

"I feel like an athlete. Over the hill and off the playing field - if I don't come up with a big plot and marvelous characters."

"You have a series; you've done that."

"What if they get stale?"

What if, what if? Miss Anxiety has become a stuck disc.

I'm a writer; and I suffer an occasional bout of the doubts, but I still think writing is fun. Not every manuscript I produce is going to be a winner with readers, editors, publishers… But I know when I wrote it, it was fun.

I wish I had more encouraging words for my friend, an elixir for writing-is-fun work. I've known her for years and I think her anxiety comes through in her work, which is a plus, because she writes edgy noir fiction.
Now, for me, it's back to the playing field.
Gerrie Ferris Finger

Coming in October: WAGON DOGS (Writing that hunting dog mystery was a lot of fun.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40% said they now read more than they did with print books. Of those surveyed, 58% said they read about the same as before while 2% said they read less than before. And 55% of the respondents in the May study, paid for by e-reader maker Sony Corp., thought they'd use the device to read even more books in the future. The study looked at owners of three devices: Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle, Apple Inc.'s iPad and the Sony Reader.

While e-readers are still a niche product just beginning to spread beyond early adopters, these new reading experiences are a big departure from the direction U.S. reading habits have been heading. A 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts caused a furor when it reported Americans are spending less time reading books. About half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books

The Future of the Book
*51% of e-reader owners increased their purchases of e-books in the past year. Source: Book Industry Study Group survey
*9% of consumers increased their purchases of hardcover books in the past year. Source: Book Industry Study Group survey.
*2.6 Average number of books read by e-reader owners in a month. Source: Marketing and Research Resources
*1.9 Average number of books read by print-book readers in a month. Source: Marketing and Research Resources
*176% Increase in U.S. electronic-book sales in 2009. Source: Association of American Publishers
*1.8% Decrease in U.S. book sales in 2009 from a year earlier. Source: Association of American Publishers
*86% of e-reader owners read on their device more than once a week. Source: Marketing and Research Resources
*51% of e-reader owners read on their device on a daily basis. Source: Marketing and Research Resources

Monday, September 20, 2010


I like mystery festivals and conventions that are close to my home on the east coast. I've become a regular at the Malice Domestic Fan Convention in Crystal City, near D. C. This year it's in Bethesda, Md.

I don't like to fly, particularly now that seats are getting smaller and overhangs nearly touch my head. I'm claustrophobic that way, and passengers and flight attendants do not need to deal with the possibility of me running down the aisle screaming in panic. Used to be, you could drink your way to your destination and feel no fear. Not so today.

That means I won't be going to San Francisco, a city I love, this year for Bouchercon. It's the grandest mystery writer/reader convention, but I'm sticking to the eastern part of the U. S.

So, I signed up to attend, and be part of, the Cape Fear Crime Festival as a panelist.

This from their website:

On Saturday, Feburary 5, 2011, the Cape Fear Crime Festival returns to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Once again, murder and mayhem wil take over the Northeast Branch of the New Hanover County Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington, NC 28405.

There will be author events free to Wilmington readers, and book sales provided by Two Sisters Bookery of Wilmington.

Check the website to see which authors are attending. http://capefearcrimefestival2.com/

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Agatha May Clarissa Miller was born on September 15, 1890 and from the 1920s until the 1970s she was the world's most popular mystery author, having sold more than two billion books worldwide, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Christie turned out cozy stories of murder and detection featuring her two most popular detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Poirot starred in 30 novels while Miss Marple solved mysteries in 12. Countless (to me at least) have been made into movies, most notably the star-studded 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express.

In 1971 Christie was made a Dame of the British Empire for her contributions to British literature and culture.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Monday, September 13, 2010


I'll be talking about my two series, DRU and LAKE, and THE LAURA KATE PLANTATION SERIES on Red River Writers Blog Talk Radio on September 16 at 8:00 p.m. The show is the premier of "15 Minutes with Robins & Goodnow"

Tune in and listen while I "run my mouth", as we say in the South, for fifteen minutes. You take your fame where you can get it, and I'm looking forward to April Robins' fine show.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Monday, August 30, 2010


Papers Fight Over Whether Third Oxford English Dictionary Will Ever Be Printed

from Publishers Lunch

The original story in the Sunday Times this weekend was interesting, and reasonable enough. Oxford University Press ceo Nigel Portwood noted "the print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year."

Asked if the company would issue a print version of the third edition of the OED--said to be 28 percent complete, and estimated to be at least 10 years away from being finished and likely longer--Portwood made the mistake of being candid and stating the obvious: "I don't think so."

Thus a wave of the-OED-is-dead stories was unleashed. (The last printed version was issued in 1989, comprising 20 volumes.) Even though the first story contained a statement from an Oxford spokesperson saying that a print version had not been ruled "if there is sufficient demand at the time" a second wave of supposedly-rebuttal stories offers spokesperson Anna Baldwin stating more of the obvious: "No decision has yet been made on the format of the third edition."




coming soon: WAGON DOGS (Oct)

Friday, August 27, 2010


If life's a journey, the writing life is a filled with detours.

When I retired from news writing and embarked on a career as a novelist, I took so many back roads, I can't count them. I was technique-challenged. I knew the basics and the differences between writing novels and newspaper copy. The longer form, whether genre or literary, involves conflict, plot structure, character building, setting, plot and theme. News editors reject all that to crowd as much information into as small a space as possible.

I spent nearly twenty years with The Atlanta-Journal Constitution writing inverted pyramid style hard news, and, sometimes crossing over into softer features and magazine pieces.

· The newspaper reporter lays out facts, the famous "when, where, who" with the climax in the lede. Then the why and the how get into the story, if they are facts. If an investigator gives an opinion on how the crime was accomplished, he is quoted. His words are facts because he said them. A news writer does not let his opinion seep into the story.

· A feature story lays out facts, too, but delves into the how and why, slowly drawing readers into the piece, often captivating them with clever or poignant phrases. Usually, if there is a punch line, it's at the bottom. In this sense, feature and magazine writing are good disciplines for a beginning novelist.

When I wrote my first "southern gothic", changing my writing style presented problems. Of the many precepts, experts insisted that we, "show, don't tell". My agent told me, "You need to describe the air and scenes around the characters while they talk. Give them looks on their faces, gestures, and don't tell me they looked shocked, tell me what shocked looks like." She was right. I had my protagonists speaking like dispassionate news subjects. My agent then slammed my optimism by saying news writers often don't make good novelists.

I went overboard. I had rambling sentences that surpassed purple prose. It was like, Oh boy, I got the green light to indulge in the fine art of beautiful language – something I couldn't do as a news writer. The results were sorry. I wrote flashbacks that confused, heavy-handed imagery, too many metaphors, too much repetition – how else was I going to get to eighty thousand words? - and that dreaded of all, detailed back story.

I had characters on top of characters – a sheriff, a city cop, a state bureau of investigation guy. My agent told me I was going to lose my readers if I didn't designate one investigator to represent them all. Heck, when I was writing copy for the paper, the more investigators I interviewed the better. But I was beginning to get it and wrote another book, this time a romantic suspense. Not that it was the genre's fault I overwrote.

As far back as I can remember, I read any type of book that came to hand, but by mid-teens I preferred crime fiction, I had a good idea of building conflict by writing individual scenes, and I knew the importance of ending a chapter with dramatic expectation of what lay ahead.

I had more to learn. After toning down and tightening the prose, I realized that Voice was key for me. Two books later, my voice was still newspaper flat. Agents and publishers are voice hounds; they hear it in the first couple of pages. So do readers. I worked on my voice and style by using the narrative to pace the story. I peopled my work with fewer characters which enhanced the conflicts. THE END GAME was the first novel where I deliberately changed my voice to that of my characters.

My heroine, Moriah Dru, a former policewoman, has a tough job as a child finder. I met tough women at the newspaper. The ones I liked had a soft side. Dru was going to have a iron-willed exterior but a soft middle. I heard her voice in my head before I wrote the first word of her story.

On the other hand, if I were to write a cozy mystery, I would have fun with it. I would hear the voice of my heroine and write her thoughts as fast as my fingers could get them out. One thing for sure, if I can't create an emotional connection with the reader, that reader is lost to me.

There is, however, a similarity between newspaper and book writing that includes journalism's "W's". Readers must be constantly curious. They can't be wondering, what's going on, where's the action? In newspapers, the action starts at the top, in novels the action must exist throughout. Fortunately for the novelist, the action doesn't have to be driven by factual events. We get to make them up. That's the best part.

Last, but not least, I do one or two revisions where I squeeze sentences like I did with my news copy. Active voice takes fewer words, and yanking most adverbs and adjectives make the story sing along quite smoothly.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

This essay first appeared on Cassy Pickard's blog

Saturday, August 21, 2010


WAGON DOGS, my October release now has a face. Jenifer Ranieri of Desert Breeze Publishing designed the jacket, which expertly captures the atmosphere of the romantic suspense story. WAGON DOGS is Book 3 in the Laura Kate Plantation Series. WHEN SERPENTS DIE and HONORED DAUGHTERS are books 1 and 2.
See more about these ebooks at http://www.gerrieferrisfinger.com/

Saturday, August 14, 2010


From Publishers Lunch:

"The Center for Fiction (previously the Mercantile Library) has changed the name of their first novel prize--originally the John Sargent Sr. prize when launched in 2006--to the Flaherty-Dunnan Prize, due to support from board member and writer Nancy Dunnan and honoring her late father Ray Flaherty, also a writer.

The seven nominated debut novels are:

Beneath the Lion's Gaze, by Maaza Mengiste

The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer

Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes

Mr. Peanut, by Adam Ross

The Quickening, by Michelle Hoover

The Report, by Jessica Francis Kane

This is Just Exactly Like You, by Drew Perry

In other awards news, the Thurber Prize for American Humor named their three finalists:

Jancee Dunn, WHY IS MY MOTHER GETTING A TATTOO?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask


Gerrie Ferris Finger

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


My novel, THE END GAME, has been called a traditional novel, a hard-boiled mystery and noir. Am I strawberry shortcake or what?

Otto Penzler writes in the Huffington Post:

"Noir fiction has attracted some of the best writers in the United States (mostly) and many of its aficionados are among the most sophisticated readers in the crime genre. Having said that, I am constantly baffled by the fact that a huge number of those readers don't seem to know what noir fiction is. When they begin to speak of their favorite titles in the category, they invariably include a preponderance of books and short stories that are about as noir as strawberry shortcake."

Read rest of story.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Booker Prize Longlist

From Publishers Lunch
The Booker Prize longlist was announced yesterday. The list will be whittled to six on September 7, and the winner will be named on October 12. As helpfully sorted below, four of the titles are scheduled for US publication over the next three months, and three have no announced US publication date. In a Booker first, Damon Galgut's novel does not have a US print release date yet, but is available now from Amazon Kindle.

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Andrea Levy, The Long Song
David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Lisa Moore, February
Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap
Emma Donoghue, Room (releases 9/13)
Tom McCarthy, C (releases 9/7)
Paul Murray, Skippy Dies (releases 8/31)
Rose Tremain, Trespass (releases 10/18)
Helen Dunmore, The Betrayal (UK only, Fig Tree)
Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question (UK only, Bloomsbury)
Alan Warner, The Stars in the Bright Sky (UK only, Jonathan Cape)
Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room (UK only in print, Atlantic Books; US via Kindle)

So far UK oddsmakers can't agree on a favorite (unlike last year, when Hilary Mantel led from start to finish). William Hill has made Levy their 4-1 favorite, followed by two-time winner Carey, while Ladbrooke's has Carey on top at 3-1, with Levy in eighth place.Agent Jonny Geller comments on the list via Twitter: "Papers today say no debut novelists on booker longlist? Because pubs stopped buying them last year! Maybe they might start now?"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


France pioneers 'crowdfunded' publishing
Éditions du Public seeks 'co-editors' who 'invest in what they want to read'

From the guardian.co.uk

July 2010

"From science fiction writers to poets and playwrights, would-be French authors are lining up to take part in France's first venture into crowdfunded literature.

Launched this spring by publisher Éditions du Public, the initiative – slogan: "I invest in what I want to read" – has already received 80 manuscripts. Sixteen have been merited good enough to make it onto the publisher's website, from Nathalie Tavignot's Croissant de lune (Crescent Moon), in which a series of murders occur in a village whose inhabitants have just woken from a long sleep and remember nothing, to Ghislain Hammer's poetry collection Les colosses nus (The Naked Colossi).

The publishers are now looking for co-editors to help fund publication of the books. Each co-editor must invest €11 in their chosen title, and will then be able to discuss the book with its author on Éditions du Public's forum, following each stage as it is written. Each title has six months to sign up 2,000 co-editors and some are already proving more popular than others: Tavignot's thriller has 45 subscribers, while Hammer has just two.

Once the 2,000 threshold has been reached, an editor at Éditions du Public will go over the text and layout with the author. The book will then be sold online and through bookshops, with each co-editor able to recoup "up to eight times the amount of their initial subscription" depending on sales, as well as receiving a free copy of the book they have edited.

"We want, thanks to crowdfunding, to give the chance to every author to be published," said Laurence Broussal at Éditions du Public. "Thanks to our website, authors have a real communication platform to make themselves known to internet users and to meet their public. But we want this to be without risk: the internet co-editor is refunded with 100% of their output, and the author gets back their manuscript, if the book is not published."

Broussal said that Éditions du Public was the first publisher to utilise crowdfunding in France, although the concept has already been experimented with in music and film. The publisher has already received around 1,000 subscriptions across all its titles after starting to recruit co-editors at the beginning of July, and hopes to publish its first book by the end of the year."

Happy Crowdfunded Reading.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Author of THE END GAME, not crowdfunded published.

Monday, June 28, 2010


In our small community on the coast of Georgia, there are four book clubs. There used to be three. The members rotate holding the monthly meetings, and the size of the three clubs grew to the point where there wasn't enough room for members to sit, to say nothing of the food and wine bills for the gathering.

I had my first book club appearance last week. I've never belonged to a book club, although I've always had a bookmark in at least one fiction or nonfiction book since I was old enough to read.

My mother, a great reader and club woman, never belonged to a book club. We lived in the country. There were quilting clubs (I can still feel the little needle pricks at the tips of my fingers), garden clubs, theater and symphony-going clubs, bridge clubs – you name a time and place where women gather, and there was a club for it.
It seems to me there is a proliferation of book clubs today.
Is this Oprah's doing? If so, good for her.

When my neighbor, Tina, learned that my debut mystery, THE END GAME, would be released on April 27, she invited me to appear at her book club, one of the four. I've also been invited to the other three clubs.

There were almost twenty members in attendance. Fifteen members are area snowbirds, now back in Massachusetts or Maine for the summer, away from flying creatures and the sizzling atmosphere.

I had such fun getting to know these readers. I have to admit book club appearances have it all over signings. First, members have either bought, borrowed or checked the book out at the library, so there's no selling like at a signing. Second, they've read it, so we can talk about the entire book.
As I said, this was my first experience at discussing the novel except with my editor, Ruth Cavin, who chose THE END GAME as the Best First Traditional Mystery Novel in the Malice Domestic/St. Martin's competition.
So after introductions, Tina, my friend, asked me, "Is your heroine, Moriah Dru, you?"
I wasn't expecting that opening salvo and laughed. How could I say she wasn't me, at least in part, since I am her creator. But the truth is, if I had to re-create me ( being my own God), I'd create myself in Dru's image. But no, I'm not nearly as high-minded, brave and dedicated to justice as she is. I was a reporter so getting the facts in a story right is important, but I learned a long time ago that justice is elusive.
My book club readers were interested in all the things writers are queried about: Are the characters modeled after people you know? Some. Where did you get your plot idea? From the news. Did you choose your book cover? No. Did you do research? A lot. Do you write with music playing? Not usually. I'm easily distracted. Have you ever hopped a train? Long time ago, when I was young and stupid, and I didn't stay on it very long.
We discussed the ending of THE END GAME, which I can't do here because mystery readers like surprises. All but one member declared they hadn't guessed the villain before the person (s) was exposed. I never asked if they liked the book, but most volunteered liking it very much to having been unable to put it down.
I have several more book club bookings, and I'm looking forward to each and every one. Yes, you get the usual questions, but one member asked, "Do you drink when you write?"
Put off momentarily (while holding a glass of wine), I asked, "Like Hemingway or Fitzgerald?"
"I read where Hemingway said, 'Good writers are drinking writers.'"
I'm saying you're a good writer."
I'll take that as a compliment any day, and, no, I don't drink when I write, or play golf. Both require a focused brain, and, as I said before, I'm easily distracted.


Monday, June 7, 2010


There aren't many ice creams that I don't like. Not fond of mint, licorice or peanut butter. PB doesn't taste right unless it sticks to the roof of my mouth.
But here are some great cone fillers for the long, hot summer.

Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm fond of saying I never missed a deadline. Up until now. For the twenty years I spent at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I never missed a deadline. Since I'm retired, that will always be true.

Desert Breeze publishes my ebook romantic suspense novels, and for two of them, WHEN SERPENTS DIE and HONORED DAUGHTERS, I got my copy in on time.
Then comes WAGON DOGS, my upcoming 2010 Fall release.
My editor, Gail Delaney, sent an email reminding authors with September releases that copy was due June 1.
Why, I wondered, was Gail sending this to me? My third book wasn't due out until October, which meant I didn't have to get it to her until July 1.
So, I looked for my contract and couldn't find it. But I shot off an email anyway, saying I'm not due out until October.
Gail replied. You are on the schedule for September.
When I found my contract, it was dated October 2009. And Gail went on to remind me that HONORED DAUGHTERS had been released in October 2009. That must have been the problem. October on the brain.
Whatever. I missed a deadline. No way could I get the novel ready in five days.
Gail, being the complete editor that she is, said she'd check with other authors to see if someone could help me out.
And to the rescue comes Melanie Atkins. She had her romantic suspense (same genre as mine) manuscript ready for its October release ahead of time and was delighted to switch months with me. (Bet she never loses her keys, either.)
Thank you Gail and thank you Melanie.
Look at these wonderful covers. You know there's a fabulous story inside. I highly recommend CHERISHED WITNESS, CHOSEN TARGET and PRIME SUSPECT. They are available (along with mine, aforementioned) on the Desert Breeze website store.

By the way, Desert Breeze Publishing will be open for submissions on July 1. Check the website at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Yesterday, my favorite Southern novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, turned 50.

Monroeville, Alabama is having a mega-celebration birthday party for the book, authored by hometown girl, Harper Lee. I used the word "girl" calculatingly, because in the South boys are, well, "boys" and girls are "good ol' girls", no matter the age. The festivities are to run all summer and four editions of the book are planned by publisher, HarperCollins, each with a different cover.

Harper Lee, as is her self-imposed legend, most likely will avoid the limelight. She is 84, lives in Alabama and has never published another book. TKAM was originally published in 1960 by J. B. Lippincott and Company and won a Pulitzer Prize.

The classic of high school lit classes, the plot takes place in the Great Depression. Scout Finch, an avowed tomboy, lives with her brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, in Maycomb, Ala. Atticus is a prominent lawyer and the Finch family is well off. One summer, Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill, who has come to live in their neighborhood. Dill becomes fascinated with the spooky house on their street called the Radley Place, owned by Nathan Radley, whose brother, Boo, has lived there for years, never going outdoors.

Scout, and Jem make fun of Boo Radley, doing everything in their power to lure him outside. Atticus stops it, admonishing the kids to understand and sympathize with the odd Boo. But the three sneak onto the Radley property, where Nathan shoots at them. Jem loses his pants and returns for them later. He finds them sewn and hanging on the fence. Scout find more presents in the tree, presumably left by the mysterious Boo.

A fire breaks out in a neighbor’s house, and during the fire someone slips a blanket on Scout’s shoulders as she watches the blaze. Convinced that Boo did it, Jem tells Atticus about the mended pants and the presents.

In a seeming subplot, Atticus agrees to defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a white woman. In this break with the societal norm, Jem and Scout are made fun of. Scout doesn't take kindly to this treatment and wants to fight back. They find refuge with the black community.

At the trial, Scout and Jem sit in the colored balcony. Atticus proves the accusers, Mayella Ewell and her father, Bob, are lying. That Mayella propositioned Tom Robinson, was caught by her father, and then accused Tom of rape to cover her shame and guilt. But Robinson is convicted. Scout can't understand why, and Atticus explains he had to do his duty, but that the verdict was a foregoing conclusion, given the culture they lived in. Shortly after, Scout learns that Tom Robinson had been killed in an escape attempt.

Bob Ewell is raving mad at Atticus and the judge and vows revenge. He tries to break into the judge’s house, then attacks Jem and Scout as they walk home. Jem is wounded. Boo Radley intervenes, stabbing and killing Ewell. The sheriff protects Boo by saying Ewell tripped over a tree root and fell on his own knife. Boo once again confines himself to the Radley house.

Moral of the story: Scout's experience with prejudice and hatred gives her an understanding of what others must go through in a stratified society. She begins to under sympathy and practices kindness.
The New York Times reports that in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Oblong Books will host a party with Mocktails and a performance by the indie band the Boo Radleys.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Gerrie Ferris Finger
Minotaur Books
Child Trace, Inc. is a private firm devoted to missing children.

Created by Moriah Dru after she leaves the Atlanta PD, the company has been gaining recognition and momentum since it’s beginning. All of Moriah’s efforts are paying off and she’s become the go-to investigator in cases involving kids.

This latest case that she’s been called in on may turn out to be her most difficult yet. Two sisters are missing after their foster parents have been killed in a devastating house fire. Arson is the cause and Moriah has to wonder if the kids were the target all along.

Working alongside her former partner and current lover, Detective Rick Lake, Moriah knows that time is not on her side in this investigation. The suspect list is long and continues to grow as every minute passes, and when Moriah discovers the real reason behind the kidnapping, things get even worse.

Gerrie Ferris Finger’s first in this new series is a fast-pace and totally gripping story. It’s also a darker mystery that will appeal to readers across the mystery genre.
05/10 Becky Lejeune
A note about the books reviewed... A new law was recently enacted that has been causing some confusion among online reviewers. For clarity's sake, all reviews on this site are the opinions of the reviewer, based on a careful reading of the work. Books are furnished to reviewers in a variety of ways, including review copies from the publisher, the author, and/or publicists. Other books are borrowed from libraries, received as gifts from friends and family members, and purchased in bookstores, both online and bricks & mortar. Reviewers stand by their reviews as their own opinion, regardless of the source of the book being reviewed.
From BookBitchBlog

Monday, May 10, 2010

BISG Conference Message: Change or Die

BISG Conference Message: Change or Die

On my recent book tour, readers and potential book buyers ask: "Is your book available on Kindle or Nook?"

The answer is YES.

Read the link below to understand the changing nature of book sales.


Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Not exactly Breakfast at Tiffany's, but the coffee was hot at 7:30 in the morning and the fans were enthusiastic. A ballroom was set up with tables for ten, each with a new mystery author at the table.

The fruit was fresh and so were the authors when it came time to reveal the plots of their books, me included.

I don't know how I sounded. I'm a writer not a speaker, but the applause was nice.

Malice Domestic is a wonderful fan convention. Mystery readers are avid to know everything about your book, but, Oh, no spoilers, please!

I'm off to a panel to discuss "Ripped from the Headlines" about how newspapers, TV, and on-line programs influence your work. My novel centers around two missing little girls, abducted for the overseas slave trade. A very timely topic.

Must go now.



Thursday, April 29, 2010


Congratulations to these winners of the Reviewers' Choice Awards given by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

The winners in the Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller category are (for books published in 2009):

Amateur Sleuth: Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke (Kensington)

Contemporary Mystery: Kill For Me by Karen Rose (Grand Central)

First Mystery: A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Historical Mystery: What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris (NAL)

PI/Police Procedural Novel: A Darker Domain by Val McDermid (Harper)

Suspense/Thriller: The Messenger by Jan Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Author of THE END GAME
hard cover now available online and in stores

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Crime Writers of Canada has announced its annal nominations for The Arthur Ellis Award. The award goes to writers of excellent Canadian crime fiction. The winners will be announced May 27 in Toronto.

Best Crime Novel

Aloha, Candy Hearts by Anthony Bidulka
Arctic Blue Death by R.J. Harlick
Finger's Twist by Lee Lamothe
Death Spiral by James W. Nichol
High Chicago by Howard Shrier

Best First Novel

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan
The Weight of Stones by C.B. Forrest
A Magpie's Smile by Eugene Meese
Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy

Best Non-Fiction

The Fat Mexican: The Bloody rise of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club by Alex Caine
Runaway Devil by Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose
The Slasher Killings by Patrick Brode
Post Mortem by Jon Wells
Murder without Borders by Terry Gould

Best Juvenile

Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant
Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard
Homicide Related by Norah McClintock
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones Best

Unpublished First Crime Novel (the Unhanged Arthur)

This Cage of Bones by Pam Barnsley
Confined Space by Deryn Collier
The Corpse Flower by Gloria Ferris
A Bait of Pleasure by Blair Hemstock
Putting Them Down by Peter Kirby

Best Short Story

"Backup" by Rick Mofina
"Prisoner in Paradise" by Dennis Richard Murphy
"Nothing is Easy" by James Petrin
"Time Will Tell" by Twist Phelan
"Clowntown Pajamas" by James Powell

Best Crime Writing in French

Je compte les morts by Genevieve Lefebvre
Le mort du chemin des Arsène by Jean Lemieux
La faim de la terre by Jean-Jacques Pelletier
Peaux de chagrin by Diane Vincent

Congratulations, you are all winners!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt Poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

Keep watching, I'm not finished.

Gerrie Ferris Finger

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Oak
by James Russell Lowell
What gnarled stretch, what depth of shade, is his?
There needs no crown to mark the forest's king;
How in his leaves outshines full summer's bliss!
Sun, storm, rain, dew, to him their tribute bring,
Which he, with such benignant royalty
Accepts, as overpayeth what is lent;
All nature seems his vassal proud to be,
And cunning only for his ornament.
How towers he, too, amid the billowed snows,
An unquelled exile from the summer's throne,
Whose plain, uncintured front more kingly shows,
Now that the obscuring courtier leaves are flown.
His boughs make music of the winter air,
Jewelled with sleet, like some cathedral front
Where clinging snow-flakes with quaint art repair
The dents and furrows of Time's envious brunt.
How doth his patient strength the rude March wind
Persuade to seem glad breaths of summer breeze,
And win the soil that fain would be unkind,
To swell his revenues with proud increase!
He is the gem; and all the landscape wide
(So doth his grandeur isolate the sense)
Seems but the setting, worthless all beside,
An empty socket, were he fallen thence.
So, from oft converse with life's wintry gales,
Should man learn how to clasp with tougher roots
The inspiring earth; - how otherwise avails
The leaf-creating sap that sunward shoots?
So every year that falls with noiseless flake
Should fill old scars up on the stormward side,
And make hoar age revered for age's sake,
Not for traditions of youth's leafy pride.
So, from the pinched soil of a churlish fate,
True hearts compel the sap of sturdier growth,
So between earth and heaven stand simply great,
That these shall seem but their attendants both;
For nature's forces, with obedient zeal
Wait on the rooted faith and oaken will,
As quickly the pretender's cheat they feel,
And turn mad Pucks to flout and mock him still.
Lord! all Thy works are lessons - each contains
Some emblem of man's all-containing soul;
Shall he make fruitless all Thy glorious pains,
Delving within Thy grace an eyeless mole?
Make me the least of Thy Dodona-grove,
Cause me some message of Thy truth to bring,
Speak but a word through me, nor let
Thy loveAmong my boughs disdain to perch and sing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

ODE TO GOLF - For National Poetry Month

In My Hand I Hold A Ball,
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.
Oh How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.
By Its Size I Could Not Guess,
The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.
But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I've Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.
My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same,
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.
It Rules My Mind For Hours On End,
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.
It Has Made Me Curse And Made Me Cry,
And Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises Me A Thing Called Par,
If I Hit It Straight And Far.
To Master Such A Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires The Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly As It Chooses.
It Hooks And Slices,
Dribbles And Dies,
And Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have A Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.
With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.
It's Made Me Whimper Like A Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows ... I'll Be Back Tomorrow.

Author Unknown.


NEAR the end of April,
On the verge of May --
And O my heart, the woods were dusk
At the close of day.
Half a word was spoken
Out of half a dream,
And God looked in my soul and saw
A dawn rise and gleam.
Near the end of April
Twenty Mays have met,
And half a word and half a dream
Remember and forget.

William Stanley Braithwaite

Sunday, April 18, 2010


There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London which used to have gallows adjacent. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hung. The horse drawn dray, carting the prisoner was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ''ONE LAST DRINK''.
If he said YES it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON
So there you go.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 64th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Here are the nominees:


The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House - Ballantine Books)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)


The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)


Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)
The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)


Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group - Twelve)
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr (HarperCollins)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (The Penguin Press)
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)


Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)


"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)
"Femme Sole" – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)
"Digby, Attorney at Law" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)
"Animal Rescue" – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books
"Amapola" – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)


The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers Group – Philomel Books)


Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Children’s Books)Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)


“Place of Execution,” Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
“Strike Three” – The Closer, Teleplay by Steven Kane (Warner Bros TV for TNT)
“Look What He Dug Up This Time” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)
“Grilled” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by George Mastras (AMC/Sony)
“Living the Dream” – Dexter, Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)


"A Dreadful Day" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)


Dorothy Gilman


Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival


Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books)
Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Lethal Vintage by Nadia Gordon (Chronicle Books)
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel (HarperCollins)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I recently guest blogged on

The Stiletto Gang

Thoughts In Progress

My Father's Oldsmobile

I love this blogging thing.

See my website for my blogging and book tour appearances.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


I came across an article in The Week and wanted to share the wisdom. Agatha Christie influenced my reading and writing as I grew up, but to be an influence on humans making choices? Who'd have thought it? And, Alice in Wonderland?

Here's the article:

Sheena Iyengar’s new book, "The Art of Choosing", explores the biology and psychology of choice. But what does she choose to read? Author Sheena Iyengar.

The Week asked Columbia University business professor, Sheena Iyengar, the author of the "The Art of Choosing", a new book examining the science of how human beings make choices, to name six titles that have influenced her work. It was ‘a complex choosing task,' she says.

Essays: First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson (General Books, $7). Inspiring, invigorating, brimming with commitment. “Self-Reliance,” in particular, is notable for its powerful argument against conformity, against “a foolish consistency.” It’s hard to imagine what “American values” would look like without Emerson.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Scholastic, $4). The Hatter emphasizes the difference between “I like what I get” and “I get what I like.” The Cheshire Cat suggests that if you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you choose. This book is sometimes considered wonderful nonsense, but the characters say a lot of wise things about our desires, goals, and achievements.

The Mysteries of Agatha Christie (HarperCollins, $6 each). Considered as a whole, the stories and novels of Agatha Christie form a highly entertaining study of the relationship between motive (What drives our choices?) and action (What do we end up choosing?).

The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner (Simon & Schuster, $18). A classic that manages to make economics accessible and interesting to the layperson. Heilbroner delves into the “lives, times, and ideas of the great economic thinkers”—as the book’s subtitle promises—to show how men like Adam Smith and Karl Marx were shaped by their choices, and how their theories continue to shape us today.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $16). Rushdie’s novel is a beautiful, astonishing meditation on freedom, destiny, and the role of the individual in creating history. What do we expect from freedom, and what do we get? Can one person’s choices affect the course of an entire nation? Rushdie makes these questions impossible to ignore.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Knopf, 16). With eloquence and humor, Gilbert explains in this 2006 book how our imagination fails us, leading us to act against our own happiness. Along with fascinating research and memorable anecdotes, he offers the practical advice that we all want and need.

Sheena Iyengar, a Columbia University business professor, explores the biology and psychology of choice in The Art of Choosing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


You have to love a blog called Mysteries and Margaritas. I had the pleasure of guest-blogging today.
Tune in.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Good morning, it was my pleasure to be interviewed by the author of the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series. Her first novel, "A Real Basket Case" was nominated for an Agatha Award.

Read Beth's interview.


Thursday, April 1, 2010


On March 23, I announced an ARC contest for THE END GAME on DorothyL. The rules were simple. On April 1 (Fool's Day) Bogey, the black standard poodle, and Ace tennis ball player, would draw a tennis ball from his toy box. Contestants are represented by a number to match names on the order of email entries.

Bogey's approach.

Digging around to find a winner.

And the winner is 8.

Julie Miller, Duluth, Minnesota.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The 2010 awards will be announced at ThrillerFest in New York City on July 10 at the Grand Hyatt. Congratulations to these finalists:

Best Hard Cover Novel:
VANISHED by Joseph Finder
LONG LOST by Harlan Coben
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay
THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner
THE RENEGADES by T. Jefferson Parker

Best Paperback Original:
SHADOW SEASON by Tom Piccirilli
URGE TO KILL by John Lutz
THE COLDEST MILE by Tom Piccirilli
NO MERCY by John Gilstrap

Best First Novel:
FRAGMENT by Warren Fahy
DEAD MEN'S DUST by Matt Hilton
DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD by Dacre Stoker
RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL by Jamie Freveletti

Best Short Story:
A STAB IN THE HEART by Twist Phelan
ICED by Harry Hunsicker
BOLDT'S BROKEN ANGEL by Ridley Pearson

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I guest blogged with Peg Brantley at her excellent blog, Suspense Novelist.

Read it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Signing

I came across this series of questions from The Rocky Mountain Writers Summit about book signings when my publishers and I launched my book tour.

I'm sharing this because book signings can be tricky whether you arrange your own tour or your publicist does it for you.

Question #1: Does the bookstore have a special events coordinator? Usually the answer is yes. If not, ask for the manager or owner – especially if the bookstore is locally owned.

Question #2: Will the bookstore be ordering the books directly from the distributor or would they consider buying them directly from the author?

Bookstores usually want to order their own inventory of books from their own distributors, however they are going to be frugal on the number of books they order. Authors need to bring at least 30 books with them in the event that the bookstore had a problem with fulfillment or if they don’t order enough books. The bookstore will usually be very willing buy books directly from the author (especially if they’re very likely to be or are already sold).

Question #3: If the bookstore is willing to buy books from the author, the bookstore will want to know the discount the author is offering.

Before answering, the author should inquire how much they typically require. Anywhere between 30%-60% is reasonable. Typical breakdowns are 30% if the bookstore is only willing to buy books that sell during the signing, or 40% if the bookstore is willing to buy books before the signing and have them on display to help promote the event. If the bookstore wants or demands more than 40% when buying directly from the author, then that author must decide if the venue is worth that big of a percentage of sales.

Question #4: How many books do you sell on average at a book signing?

The answer to this question will give the author a clue as to how many books the bookstore is likely to buy from the distributor and how many the author should bring to supplement the signing if the bookstore orders short. It will also give the author an indication if this is a good location or not to really do a book signing. Asking for the ‘average’ number as opposed to listening to tales of their ‘greatest one ever' will also ground the author into a realistic expectation of the venue.

Question #5: When do they have the best foot traffic? (In my opinion, this is crucial for a successful signing. Also, get the best seat in the house, usually at the store front. Don't let them stick you off somewhere upstairs, back in the business book section.)

Authors should do quite a bit of pre-publicity for their book signings. However, the reality is that most don’t. So to optimize the potential for the book signing, the author needs to be at the store when it is at its busiest.

Question #6: The bookstore will ask the author…. “Is your book ‘Print on Demand’?

Some bookstores will ask the local talent if their book is ‘Print on Demand’. What the bookstore is assuming is that ‘Print on Demand’ books are not returnable. If the author short circuits that question with a description of their return policy, the objection will usually be overcome. A bookstore doesn’t really care whether your book was made on a digital press or an offset press, that is irrelevant to them. What is important is whether or not they’re going to be stuck with a bunch of books that don’t sell after a book signing has finished. The author must stand behind everything they sell! Especially today, bookstores need risk-free propositions. If they buy the books from their distributor, the return policy is already in place. If they buy books from the author, they will insist on a return policy. Authors should, at a minimum, always honor a 120-day full refund guarantee.

For more information on creating a very successful book signing - read this Squidoo article – 10 Tips for a successful book signing.

The Tattered Cover in Denver has a full page of more information about working with local authors on special events at: http://tatteredcover.com/local-authors Visit the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Summit’s website and look for the writer’s tips on every single page of the site. Read all 50 tips and glean this free insight from the publishing services providers of the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Summit.

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