Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Conventions and Conferences

I would love to hear from mystery writers or fans who have attended conventions/conferences.

I have never been to a mystery convention, but have signed up to attend this year's "Bloody Words" event in Toronto (end of May). I am also thinking about maybe going to Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Killer Nashville. I likely would not be able to afford to go to all three, but I intend to check out at least one or two others.

What are your thoughts on conventions? Have you made good industry connections? Have you had a chance to meet with fans? Were you able to sell (many) books?

I'm sure the events themselves are fun, and no doubt there is much to be learned about crime fiction. But what I'd like to know is from a businees (rather than social) point of view, do you feel they are worth the price of admission (and flight and hotel and...)

Please leave comments about your experiences - I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Books to TV or Movies

A while ago, I came across an episode of a Nero Wolfe mystery on TV. It was good and I loved seeing the characters 'come to life'. Casting decisions were great - each character was as I had pictured them. The Inspector Morse series was a success. It had a loyal following in both books and in TV. Robert B. Parker's Spenser series had a good televised run with Robert Urich and Avery Brooks.

It doesn't always work this way, though (whether on TV in in movies). Some film or TV versions really disappoint readers, fail to win new fans, and flop miserably or are cancelled early on. "Burglar" (Whoopi Goldberg, based on the Bernie Rhodenbarr series by Lawrence Block) comes to mind, as does "VI Warshawski" (starring Kathleen Turner, based on the books by Sara Paretsky).

And of course, there are the mystery series we're dying to see on screen. The Janet Evanovich website has a readers' poll asking for casting choices of all the main characters. There is no word yet about production or a film release date.

As a reader, what did you think of screen versions of your favourite sleuths? In your opinion, what are the hits and what are the misses? Or what sleuth series would you love to see on TV or the silver screen? And who would you cast?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wine and Books?

I just heard of a neat book promo/event idea!

A group of five authors teamed up with a wine bar and held a vino & livros evening. The wine steward had read each of the books beforehand and chose a wine to match each book.

The pairings were based on the tone of the book, the plot, the characters and anything else that might indicate that "this particular book is a Chablis" and "that particular novel is a Merlot", and so on.

It's a great idea for cross-marketing. A wine bar and steward would probably get a kick out of doing something like this on a quiet evening (maybe a Monday or Tuesday). And for attendees it could be a fun evening out.

What do you think? If you were going to pair your novel with a wine, what would you choose?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tips and Tools for Writers

A quick look at some useful sites & tools for writers: overall grammar a handy guide to punctuation The word of the day archive is great for building vocabulary Help figure out dates/days of the week for years past/present/future Some background about first names and their meanings

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Words to live by? Quotations on Crime.

Crime does not pay ... as well as politics.
Alfred E. Newman

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
Honore de Balzac (1799 - 1850)

Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies.
Woody Allen (1935 - )

Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.
Maximilien Robespierre (1758 - 1794)

The judge is condemned when the criminal is absolved.
Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Truth versus Fiction

I've been looking for inspiration for my next work and have therefore been paying more attention to the news. I've heard many authors say they get inspiration from what they see on TV or what they read in the newspapers.

Do you think there are any limits to real life as inspiration for fiction works?

I have two crime novels in mind as I write this post. The fist was a blatant rip-off of a particularly ghastly crime, and I hated the book. I could hardly finish it, and my feeling toward the work was partly based on the lack of originality, and partly a reaction to the ickiness of the crime (which disgusted me when I had read news versions of the story in the press a year or two earlier).

The other book did it right. It had elements of a well known crime, but was adapted and revised in so many ways that it worked and worked well. The story was original, the real life events were far from obvious.

I think if one were to write in such a way as to pretty much mirror the real crime, then it may be best to call it creative nonfiction and then to proceed in the manner of Truman Capote in "In Cold Blood".

What are your thoughts on truth versus fiction?

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Question for Writers

There are all kinds of writers's groups and organizations out there, some new, some well-established; some have just a few members, while others have upwards of one thousand.

What do you look for when you join a writers' group? I'm sure I can guess at many reasons, such as networking, making new friends, getting feedback, and so on.

What is MOST important to you as a writer? What do you hope to gain and/or how do you expect/hope to benefit from membership?