Saturday, March 31, 2007

Back to the islands...

Been thinking of the islands again...they never seem to be far from my mind. A couple buddies and I are planning a sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands this fall and we've started kicking around possible "sail plans." As we figure, the only good sail plan is the plan that includes plenty of bars. One not to miss is the Willie T - as it is affectionately called. There is always a significant amount of "silliness" that goes on at the Willie T - but that's what the place is for. To cut loose and leave your worries behind 'mon. I guess we all could use a little bit of that now and then.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Write of Spring

I popped into Write of Spring over at the fantastic Once Upon a Crime bookstore here in the Mini-Apple. They do this open house thing every year to allow their customers to meet and get books signed by MN authors - all on one day. Pat took pity on me and let me crash the party as I'm a WI boy. It's a great event and clearly demonstrates how a smart independent bookstore can distinguish themselves from a chain. Don't get me wrong, I love all bookstores as long as they sell my book - but there is something truly special about an independent mystery bookstore. No Borders or B&N could pull something like this off.

As I mentioned above, I really was a party crasher there as my book doesn't come out for a couple more months so I didn't have anything to contribute to the sales process. But I got some yummy lemonade and cookies and got to chat with some authors and rub elbows with some knowledgeable readers. A guy could spend a worse couple hours on a warm spring day. And it does the soul good to see that in these days of big boxes and loss-leader fantasy novels that a smart bookstore can thrive - and have fun doing it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don't let the hat fool ya....

Inkspot is off and running and I couldn't be prouder of the bunch of writers I'm associated with. Okay, maybe not all of them...

Midnight Ink has compiled a truly eclectic mix of mysteries and suspense novels - if you can't find someone that suits your taste, you aren't looking hard enough.

And damnit we like to have some fun! I wrote about Bill Cameron a few blogs back and his book "Lost Dog" just hit the shelves. You owe yourself a copy....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Electricity is magic

I'm in the final stages - well okay maybe not the final stages but gettin' there - of finishing off my basement. I've been told I need to call it a "lower level" now that it has sheetrock and paint and I'm trying, but it's been a basement for so long it's hard to stop.

But this wiring thing, quite frankly, scares me to death. And I know why. It's magic. You can't see it. You can't touch it - or at least you shouldn't. You can't smell it - and if you can you've done something terribly wrong. And I'm not the only one. A fellow Wisconsin writer thinks the same thing too. Read his wonderful book and you'll know my plight because we are kindred spirits when it comes to this sorcery called electricity.

But I sail 7 ton sailboats. I dive to shipwrecks that are 120 feet down in Lake Superior. I should be able to handle a couple switches and outlets shouldn't I? Oh yeah you betcha...

As you can see by the photo above, I'm all about taking precautions. I don't know what is "hot" so I cover everything! And furthermore, I shut the power off to the entire house when I change a lightbulb. Momma didn't raise no fool....

Friday, March 9, 2007

On the nightstand...

I've been on a pretty good streak lately of finding new authors to fall in love with. There are so many fine writers out there - it's pretty damn hard to keep up.

Bermuda Schwartz

I don't normally read "comedic Florida" mysteries but I'm really taken with Zack - the ex-football player turned reluctant PI. I read this while lounging on the beach in Mexico and it was perfect - you hear people talk about a "beach read" - this is it. Fast paced, funny and has a "twist" at the end that will make this series move in very interesting directions.

Blue Edge of Midnight

Jonathon King

King hardly needs my endorsement - he won an Edgar for this book. It's fantastic. Relatively simple plot - no one is trying to blow up the Astro Dome or anything - but the deftly drawn characters and the beautifully rendered setting really draw you in. This is a human drama - not a "high concept" plot driven book. And that's what I like - I think you will too.

Stealing the Dragon

Tim's cover might win the sexiest cover of the year award - and the cover clues you into the real hook of the book. The story is centered around a PI by the name of Cape Weathers but it's Sally that stole the show for me and the cover ostensibley tells us that. I'm looking forward to more Sally and Cape adventures.

Lost Dog

Another cool cover - and this image doesn't do it justice. It's got a metallic sheen to it that makes you want to pick it up. And you won't be disappointed you did. Peter McKrall isn't your typical hero - but then neither is Phil Riley of Running Wrecked fame.... But I have a soft spot for unconventional protagonists as I've long been a fan of Kem Nunn and his surfer books. Lost Dog reminded me of Nunn in the best ways - confident writing, keen attention to setting, and a protagonist that you'd walk by on the street and never think he'd have a story to tell.

Friday, March 2, 2007

It's all in the details....

I hated Dickens when I read him back in High School. Too much description - get to the action please.... I like authors that sprinkle those odd and occasional details that allow you to build an image of a place or person, without having to know their cholesterol count. I read because I want to put myself within that novel and live along side the characters. I do that best when I'm given a telling detail - a kernal of information that I can build off of. I like to "fill in the blanks" with my own thoughts.

I was recently back on one of my favorite islands - Cozumel - at one of my favorite bars - Mescalitos - having one of their deadly hand grenade size margaritas and I found this "shrine."

I took the above photograph there as the image evoked a story for me - this sad little shrine of lost children's shoes and miscellanous debris. And if you've read the first chapter of my book, you will know why I had to take this photo. Note the "telling detail" on the stick in the upper left quarter of the photo. It's images like this that you - as the reader - can build a story around.