Friday, July 27, 2007

Anthony nominations... yes, THE HARROWING

Well, I have to say I didn't see this one coming. I am running into furniture and it took me three tries to parallel park this morning. Me. A Los Angeles native.

So honored to be in this awesome group!



KIDNAPPED, Jan Burke, Simon & Schuster
NO GOOD DEEDS, Laura Lippman, Harper
THE DEAD HOUR, Denise Mina, Little Brown & Co.
THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS, Nancy Pickard, Ballantine
ALL MORTAL FLESH, Julia Spencer-Fleming, St. Martins


THE KING OF LIES, John Hart, St. Martin’s
HOLMES ON THE RANGE, Steve Hockensmith, St. Martins
STILL LIFE, Louise Penny, St. Martin’s
A FIELD OF DARKNESS, Cornelia Read, Mysterious Press
THE HARROWING, Alexandra Sokoloff, St. Martins


ASHES AND BONES, Dana Cameron, Avon
THE CLEANUP, Sean Doolittle, Dell
BABY SHARK, Robert Fate, Capital Crime Press
SHOTGUN OPERA, Victor Gischler, Dell
A DANGEROUS MAN, Charlie Huston, Ballantine
SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, Naomi Hirahara, Bantam Dell - Delta


“Policy” Megan Abbott, DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
“The Lords of Misrule” Dana Cameron, SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL, Avon
“Cranked” Bill Crider, DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
“Sleeping with the Plush” Toni Kelner, Alfred Hitchcock Mag
“My Father’s Secret,” Simon Wood, Crime Spree Magazine, Bcon Spec
Issue ’06
“After the Fall,” Elaine Viets, Alfred Hitchcock Mag


MYSTERY MUSES, Jim Huang/Austin Lugar, Editors, Crum Creek Press
READ ‘EM THEIR WRITES, Gary Warren Niebuhr, Libraries Unlimited
DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY, Chris Roerden, Bella Rosa Books
THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL, Daniel Stashower, Dutton


Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime
George Easter, Deadly Pleasures
Barbara Franchi & Sharon Wheeler,
Jim Huang, Crum Creek Press and The Mystery Company
Jon & Ruth Jordan, CrimeSpree Magazine
Ali Karim, Shots Magazine
Lynn Kazmarik & Chris Aldrich, Mystery News,
Maddy Van Hertbruggen, 4 Mystery Addicts

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pen to Press Writers' Retreat

I'll be an instructor at the Pen to Press Writers' Retreat in New Orleans in the spring - along with an amazing group of authors, agents and editors. Information below:

About Pen to Press

Announcing a one of a kind writers' retreat that you simply can't pass up! Come excited and leave inspired, ready to improve your writing and get that manuscript published!

Pen to Press Retreats are five intense, hands-on, inspiring days that teach participants how to shape and present a saleable manuscript. You'll learn in a variety of settings, from workshops to one-on-one mentoring sessions to seminars. To that end, you will write and revise, have your manuscript critiqued, and revise some more. This is a remarkable opportunity to transform your writing!

To top it off, throughout the last two days of each retreat, all of our participants are given exclusive, one-on-one time with agents and editors to whom they can pitch their work!

With this retreat under your belt, who can stop you? You'll be off and ready to publish in no time!


Participants will be assigned to a class of 20 and a team instructor. (Our instructors are all successfully published authors, many NY Times Best-sellers, award-winners, and excellent teachers.). With this group, you will spend five days working on specifics to improve your manuscript. During classes and panel discussions, you'll learn details about characterization, plot, dialogue, pacing, voice, marketing, pitching, contract negotiations, etc., all of it geared around your specific work.

Agents and editors will be on hand the last two days of the retreat, and they'll be there to spend one-on-one time with you, our participants . . . writers who now have a polished pitch for a promising work!

Join Us

Interested writers must submit a two page synopsis of a completed novel or novel in progress along with the first five pages of that novel. From those submissions, 160 participants will be selected. Good luck and we hope to see you there!

For more information on our 2008 Pen to Press Writers' Retreat, visit:

Monday, July 09, 2007

So what about self-publishing?

Link to Murderati discussion on self-publishing:

(For those who were at the Regulator panel this weekend - more discussion on the topic here).

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Internet Resources for Writers

As promised, here's my list of essential resources for authors, screenwriters, and TV writers. I'll keep adding to it.


1. First, I highly recommend that every aspiring and new writer join these writing communities:

- If you’re an author: Backspace, the Writers’ Place:
Backspace is a message board for pre-published and published authors. Editors and agents are also members. You can post any question on any aspect of writing and publishing and two dozen informed answers in a day. It’s also a great, supportive community that exchanges and critiques work. There is a one-time $70 fee to join.

- If you’re an author: Murder Must Advertise – a free Yahoo list that discusses publishing and book promotion. No matter what your genre, you can benefit from this wealth of information.

- If you’re a TV writer: (free)
Message board and contests for aspiring TV writers.

- If you’re a screenwriter:, (both free)

- And specifically for horror writers: (free)

These communities of writers will point you toward a wealth of other resources.

2. You should also join the professional organization in your genre (s) – and think inclusively about which genres you belong to. Most of these organizations have an associate membership status for pre-published writers – although some do not. RWA and Sisters in Crime do not require professional credits.

- Sisters in Crime
- Mystery Writers of America
- International Thriller Writers
- Horror Writers of America
- Romance Writers of America
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Once you have joined one of these organizations, you can join local chapters and/or online chapters, news groups, and reading groups in your own genre. I particularly recommend the Guppies (Great Unpublished) group, which you can join once you join Sisters in Crime, and which has propelled dozens of members to published status.

3. Here are just some great general blogs on various aspects of the publishing business. These and more are also conveniently compiled at Murderati:

- Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
- A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing
- Bookbitch
- Evil Editor
- Buzz, Balls and Hype

4. And every aspiring author should also go to Publisher’s Weekly and sign up for e newsletters in your particular field (sign up at bottom of home page).


Here are three great resources to consult when you start looking for an agent:

1. Again, the Backspace forums:

2. Here's a site with over 1500 agent listings and software to keep track of your queries:

2; Always check with Writer Beware to make sure the agents you're approaching are legit:


Every author needs a professional website and/or blog. You should set this up BEFORE you publish, because many editors and agents are now immediately Googling new authors who submit to see if they have a web presence.

- To set up a website:

- Network Solutions ( is a low-cost, build-it-yourself web hosting and software service with great customer support that requires no knowledge of code. Believe me, if I can do it, you can.

- If you have more money to spend, is the best professional author website designer I've found at the lowest cost. They did my website and I can't say enough good things about them. There are other examples here:

- To set up a blog: and are two of the most popular free blog sites - most authors I know use one or the other. If you're writing YA or Children's books, LiveJournal and Myspace are useful. Check out other author blog sites for examples:

- Alexandra Sokoloff (newly published) -
- JT Ellison (soon to be published)
- Joe Konrath (prime example of informational blogging and the power of giving away free stuff - plus a goldmine of info on marketing and publishing. Good for fiction and non-fiction
- Heather Brewer (YA, to be published this year) ; (Heather also does a blog from her character’s POV)
- Tess Gerritsen (bestselling)
- Allison Brennan (new romantic suspense)
- Crimespot (links to all major and not-so-major mystery blogs)

- Joining or creating a group blog (grog) takes the pressure of constantly creating blog posts off you, and also gives you more exposure.

Check out these very popular examples of grogs (which are also great resources for publishing and marketing information)

- Murderati (mystery, horror, includes TV and film info as well as publishing) - ;
- Naked Authors (nystery)
- Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room (mystery, and includes a publicist and bookseller in the lineup)
- The Lipstick Chronicles (chick lit)
- Squawk Radio (romance)
- The Debutante Ball (mainstream women’s fiction)

- Another great way to start establishing an Internet presence is simply to comment on other popular blogs in your genre.

Commenting intelligently on other blogs will get your own blog linked to higher-traffic blogs, and might get you invited to join one of the more popular group blogs. Posting on message boards like Backspace (all genres and non-fiction) and Shocklines. com (horror and dark fantasy) also helps build your Internet presence.


One of the best roads in to screen and TV writing is to win a fellowship or one of the major contests. I’ve listed titles and descriptions here – please Google for more info.

- The Nicholl Fellowship - the most prestigious and best breakthough screenwriting contest out there, and many pros say it's about the only contest that can lead to a professional career.

- The Disney Fellowship and Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship – winners get an actual job and hands-on training. The Nick Fellowship grooms writers to work on one of their shows.

- The Warner Bros Drama Writers Workshop and Comedy Writers Workshop – a fast-track way into TV staffing. You write your hour spec and submit. The get about 600 scripts a year; they pick 25 to interview, and choose 13 for the program. You write a second spec under their supervision, and they get you interviews with current CW netword and studio projects. About half of any given class gets hired on staff out of the program. Being in the program can get you a good agent if you don’t have one.

- For University of California students and alumni, The Goldwyn Award is also major. There is huge industry competition for the first-place winner, and the Goldwyns heavily promote the winners. Just about every winner becomes a WGA member and is working in the industry within a year of winning.

- and WriteSafe contests: many winners of these contests have gone on to industry jobs.

If you were at the Regulator panel this weekend, please feel free to post specific questions.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"How to Get Published" panel

If you're in the Raleigh/Durham area, I'm doing a panel on "How to Get Published" at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham this evening at 7 pm: details here. Yes, the event is at seven, not three.