Thursday, February 14, 2008

THE PRICE - in bookstores February 19!

Yes, finally, THE PRICE will be in fine bookstores everywhere on February 19 or 20, depending on... I'm not sure exactly what.

Don't we love this cover? It is so EXACTLY right for the book it's - well, spooky. Kudos to Adam Auerbach at St. Martin's Press!!

Watch the book trailer!

I will be starting off my tour in Southern California tomorrow, teaching workshops at the Southern California Writers' Conference in San Diego this weekend, then signing at the divine Mysterious Galaxy on Tuesday, February 19th at 7 pm, and at legendary Book Soup on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles on Wednesday, February 20, also 7 pm. There will be wine, as we most definitely need to toast the successful conclusion of the writers' strike.

More tour information is here, and being added to daily.

Here's the scoop about the book, and you can read the first three chapters on my website, too. Hope to see you somewhere in the country this year!

- Alex

What would you give to save your child? Your wife? Your soul?

Idealistic Boston District Attorney Will Sullivan has it all: a beautiful and beloved wife, Joanna; an adorable five-year old daughter, Sydney; and a real shot at winning the Massachusetts governor's race. But on the eve of Will's candidacy, Sydney is diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable tumor.

Now Will and Joanna are living in the eerie twilight world of Briarwood Hospital, waiting for Sydney to die, and both going slowly mad with grief.

Then a mysterious, charismatic hospital counselor named Salk takes special interest in Will and Joanna's plight… and when Sydney miraculously starts to improve, Will suspects that Joanna has made a terrible bargain to save the life of their dying child.

"A medical thriller of the highest order... a stunning, riveting journey into terror and suspense."
- Bestselling author Michael Palmer

"This heartbreakingly eerie page-turner paints a vivid picture of the struggle between reality and the unknown."
- Library Journal

"A psychological roller coaster that keeps the reader on edge with bone-chilling thrills throughout."
- Bestselling author Heather Graham

"Beyond stunning, it is harrowing in the real sense of true art."
- Bestselling author Ken Bruen

Order online.

Harlequin seeking short paranormals

This may be of interest to some of you: Harlequin is seeking new writers and material for their upcoming line of short paranormal ebooks, Nocturne Bites. The writing guidelines are below.


Nocturne Bites

Length: 10,000 - 15,000 words

Editorial Director: Tara Gavin

Associate Senior Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle

Assistant Editor: Sean Mackiewicz

Silhouette Nocturne is looking to acquire paranormal editorial with strong
sexual, fantasy and danger elements for its new ebook program, Nocturne Bites.

We re looking for fast-paced novellas that hook the reader early by establishing
a paranormal world and its conflicts. We are looking for stories of vampires,
shape-shifters, werewolves, psychic powers, etc. set in contemporary times.

Many of the elements that make a successful Silhouette Nocturne remain true for
Nocturne Bites. Stories should deliver a dark, highly sensual read that will
entertain readers and take them from everyday life to an atmospheric, complex
world filled with characters struggling with life and death issues. A strong
alpha hero is of the utmost importance--he should be powerful, mysterious and
totally attractive to the heroine.

While action-packed and mission-oriented, the scope of these stories should be
more contained, with more focus turned to character development. All stories
should be capable of standing alone; all loose ends need to be tied up, and the
relationship between hero and heroine should resolve itself in a satisfying

For published authors, this line is a great way to build their miniseries at
Harlequin and Silhouette. Unpublished authors are welcome as well.

Only complete manuscripts submitted electronically will be considered from
unpublished authors; no partials or queries, please. Submissions should be sent
as a Word-compatible attachment. Submissions should also follow standard
formatting guidelines--double-spaced and written in a clear, legible font on
numbered pages. Author name and title should appear as a header or footer on
each page.

Nocturne Bites

E-mail address:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Internet Resources for Writers


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 $30 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.

Also, If you've sold your first book (congratulations!) and are looking for information on what you will need to do to promote it, I highly recommend Jacqueline Deval's excellent: PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK,

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 some 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:

3. Build yourself a targeted list of agents by finding 10 or 20 books in your genre and finding the names of thoaw authors' agents in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.

4. Always check with Writer Beware to make sure that other agents you're approaching are legit:

5. Go to writing conventions in your genre that agents will be attending, especially if you can sign up for pitch sessions. Meeting agents face to face in these situations is the best way to establish the connection that can lead to signing with an agency. Google the Shaw Guides for a list of conferences and conventions, nationwide; and/or Jacqueline Deval's excellent book PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK has a comprehensive list of conventions in the back.


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-
- JT Ellison
- 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 ( ; (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 Write2Publish panel yesterday, please feel free to post specific questions!


All the information on this blog and more, including full story structure breakdowns of various movies, is available in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks.  Any format, just $3.99 and $2.99.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amaxon DE

Amazon FR

Amazon ES

Amazon IT

If you're a romance writer, or have a strong love plot or subplot in your novel or script, then Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks II is an expanded version of the first workbook with a special emphasis on love stories.

Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble/Nook

Amazon UK

Amazon DE