Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Drinking with Crime Writers 

Your faithful correspondent will be spending the rest of the week in Las Vegas, where she will be hobnobbing with the glitterati of crime fiction. In truth, she will most likely be mocking the antics of certain misbehaved souls, shilling for her friends, looking for books, attending a token panel or few, avoiding the tables and slot machines, catching up with everyone she knows (she quit counting after 100) and engaging in the #1 Most Popular Activity at Bouchercon:

Hanging out in the bar.

And she'll look damned cute doing it too.

Sadly, internet access will be limited to deleting spam from her mightily abused inbox. But of course, feel free to enjoy the delights of that witty, entertaining bunch. As well as these.

See you next week.

A High Society Wedding 

All I know is that the in wedding invitations I got, the bride and groom didn't have so many parents.....

And the winner is.... 

DBC Pierre, for Vernon God Little. Congratulations, Mr Finlay. Baby, you're a star.

The Latest from Lunch 

The weekly deal list has just gone out and reflects some of the latest happenings from Frankfurt and more. Some pickings, vaguely related to crime fiction:

"Jeff Shelby's CAUGHT IN THE CURRENT, about a San Diego based Surfer & Private Investigator hired by the cold and disapproving mother of his high school girlfriend, Kate, now that Kate has gone missing and her mother fears the worst. , to Brian Tart at Dutton, in a nice deal, by Victoria Sanders (world).

Shelby has a previously self-published novel, DEAD WEEK.

"Journalist Tom Neale's thriller STEEL RAIN, about an FBI agent searchiing in London for the man who killed his daughter, to Martin Fletcher at Headline, by Miller at Rogers Coleridge & White."

Hmm, seems like a good bet to get a US deal, but one can never predict these things accurately.

"Clinical psychologist Dr Frank Tallis's MORTAL MISCHIEF, the first title in the Liebermann Papers series, about a Holmes and Watson-like pair in turn-of-the-century Vienna, to Susan Sandon at Arrow, in a three-book deal,
by Clare Alexander at Gillon Aitken."

Tallis is the author of two non-fiction books about anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. This book sounds quite intriguing, but I have a strange fascination with Austro-Hungarian era Vienna because it was just so different than anything like it before or after.

10 Mistakes a Writer can Fix 

The latest Holt Uncensored column went up a few days ago but I only saw it now. The main item is how there are some mistakes that keep popping up over and over again in written pieces, like repeating "crutch" words, adverb hell, overuse (or underuse) of commas, and highlights some truly awful sentences like this one from Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE:

"Almost inconceivably, the gun into which she was now staring was clutched in the pale hand of an enormous albino."

My passive voice alarm just exploded.

And now, some BSP 

My review of Dan Fesperman's THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS finally appears. And because I completely and totally missed this the first time, this is the New York Times' take. Look for an interview with Fesperman to show up in the ether sometime soon.....

All Booker, all the time 

So the Booker winner will be announced later today, which means there are a spate of articles about it in the UK papers. DJ Taylor, one of this year's judges, offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the judging room. The bookies are picking Monica Ali, but since Taylor said earlier that there's a "favorite in mind" off the beaten path, it may well turn out to be DBC Pierre or Clare Morrall. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Come and knock on our door.... 

Unlike him, I knew that Prince (aka the Artist Formerly Known as a Bankable Rock Star) had recently become a Jehovah's Witness and preached wherever he could (yet another reason to get the Kevin Smith DVD as Kevin recounts a hilarious story of the week he spent shooting a documentary at Paisley Park.) But now it seems ole Prince is making personal calls. Too bad he totally picked the wrong house.

This speaks for itself 

I haven't been following the Frankfurt Book Festival that closely except to see that it's not doing as well as in previous years. Anyway, one of the more titillating gems (word intended) is that Pamela Anderson has sold two novels to Simon & Schuster. They will be "romans a clef", ghostwritten, and entitled BELOW THE BELT and ABOVE THE WAIST. (Link from The Fold Drop.)

If they turn out to be in any way, shape or form related to crime fiction.......

Gossip Roundup 

I'm sure there will be a GroveWatch posted later today but I'm linking Lloyd's column for the simple reason that literary uberagent Esther Newberg (who may or may not be as powerful as Amanda "Binky" Urban) feels that the world should know what she thinks about the Red Sox/Yankees matchup:

"It's tough to be me. The night we won, I was walking into Yankee Stadium with my Red Sox cap on, and this twentysomething young man spat on me! Also, a woman screamed at me as I was going up the escalator. She said, 'Go back to Boston!' I told her, 'The last time I thought about it, this was called America, but you probably can't even spell the word.' I want to see the Yankees humiliated. Humiliated. That's the word I would choose."

Some gems over at Page Six today. Rodney Dangerfield wants to clone himself. Why, so he can get twice as little respect?

Steven Seagal proves to be even more of a pig as he hits on a 15 year old girl in front of her mother.

And perhaps my favorite: Various chefs, including Anthony Bourdain (who doubles as a crime fiction author whose most recent book, THE BOBBY GOLD STORIES, is excellent) confess that when they are at home, they use the George Foreman Grill to cook stuff. No kidding. I love mine and can't imagine what I would do without it.

It's official: you now cannot tell the difference between a porn star and a socialite. Thanks, Paris Hilton!

The murky past of DBC Pierre 

Although it's reasonably well known that Pierre, the booker-shortlisted author of VERNON GOD LITTLE (which will be available in the US early next year) is the pseudonym for Peter Finlay, it turns out he has a rather tumultuous past including almost a decade as a drug addict and gambler.

Macho Lit 

So a couple of guys are annoyed by the "namby pamby" novels of Tony Parsons and have started up a new publishing company, Spitfire Books, as a result. Their first release will be the reissue of Barry Norman's 70s tome HAVE A NICE DAY. The BBC then asks if there aren't enough novels for men and boys and get back some interesting comments.

Memo to Patrick Anderson 

Your weekly column in the Washington Post is designed to review thrillers and mysteries. You have given some excellent reviews to the likes of David Corbett, Michael Gruber , and so-so reviews for many other writers. So why is it that for the second week in a row, you are reviewing literary novels? I don't doubt that Ann-Marie MacDonald's latest book is very good and that I should "not miss it." However, by reviewing a book that is getting so much airplay elsewhere, you take away the opportunity for other fine books that are otherwise ignored to have their moment in the sun. I trust that this will be rectified next week. Otherwise I may not be such a happy camper.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The one thing I miss about this year's playoffs 

If the Red Sox can recover to kick some Yankee ass and the Cubbies can hold on to their lead, the World Series will be missing just one thing:

This man calling the games.

Wherever you are, Harry, I hope you're enjoying how things are turning out.

House of Guitars 

A couple of weeks ago Rogers Cable ended their deal with Rochester, NY-area local stations for their US channels, and switched to Detroit stations. Unfortunately, it means that the next generation of Ottawans will no longer be exposed to the hilariously cheesy commercials I grew up with for stores like Raymour & Flanigan, Gabriele Ford, Nationwide Warehouse (Nationwide Warehouse....Nationwide Warehouse...NATIONWIDE WAREHOUSE!!!!) and for the late night insomniacs amongst us, The House of Guitars. My local paper laments this switch as well, and takes an in-depth look at the store that devotees call "The Hog."

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