Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who doesn't like free?

Just a quick post to point you toward Stuart Neville's site, where he's giving away a free short story collection as a promotion for the release of his debut novel, The Twelve. For those of you who don't know the tale of Stuart's path to publication, it was a short published in Thuglit that first caught the attention of his agent. So if you want to read some great short fiction, or maybe see just what it takes to make an agent stand up and take notice, get over there and check it out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Adventure of Link

Okay, folks, I thought I'd offer a little linkage to brighten this rainy Mainey Sunday, now with BONUS! list of summer reads sure to fill your days with awesome. So cue the John Woo doves and slo-mo, 'cause here come the bullets:
  • Jack Getze, author of the fantastic Austin Carr series, has some nice things to say about yours truly in advance of the impending relaunch of Spinetingler as a part of BSC Review. If you've not read any of Jack's stuff, start with the freakin' smashing (thrilling, hilarious, tequila-soaked) Big Numbers. And while you're at it, scoop up Big Money, too -- you're gonna wanna read 'em both.
  • While we're talking about ordering books, I thought I'd take the time to mention how easy it is for folks on my side of the pond to order Stuart Neville's The Twelve via Amazon UK (due out July 2nd). If you've got an Amazon account, your login is the same, and the shipping's very reasonable. It's out in the US in October as The Ghosts of Belfast, and I'm thinking you might wanna pick up one of each. This book is going to be huge. Of course, you don't have to take my word for it: just ask Ken Bruen, John Connolly, and James Ellroy.
  • Hey, you wanna read a couple killer reviews? Check out what Publishers Weekly had to say about Sophie Littlefield's A Bad Day for Sorry. Then check out this review from Kirkus. And did you click through the link above to see that killer price on Amazon? You know you want it, so what's stopping you?
  • For those of you who, come summer, are challenged of attention-span, Bleak House books is offering up Uncage Me, a collection of seriously twisted short fiction from some of the best in the crime business. Now, you might think that with luminaries like Faust, Gischler, and Guthrie on the list, they could've coasted on the rest. But a couple hungry new kids on the block (ah, hell, has a freakin' boy band ruined that phrase forever?) by the name of Bagley and Blackmoore have a thing or two to say about that. Seriously, these guys always bring the goods, and if you like your bleak with a side of brutal, you'd be nuts to pass this collection up.
So there you go. Enough fantastic reading to keep you grinning ear to ear all summer long. And a word of warning: if you guys don't go out and buy all of this stuff right now, you're going to regret it. Not least because I'm a big fan of each and every one of these guys (and gal), so I'm not above guilting you until you do. So what're you waiting for?

UPDATE: The aforementioned Mr. Blackmoore has informed me The Twelve is also available to US customers at The Book Depository, and that shipping is free to anywhere in the world. So seriously, there's no excuse not to pick yourself up a copy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Addendum to "Losing My Voice"

Is it just me, or are process-y writing posts dull as dirt to read? Even I kind of didn't care what I was talking about by the end of that last one. Mayhap fiction should be slotted alongside sausages and laws in that whole don't-want-to-see-'em-made category.

Note to self: be more interesting...

Losing My Voice

There's been something bugging me of late about my WIP. A niggling little annoyance that's been hampering my word count, and keeping me scowling at my computer screen for hours on end. This weekend, though, I realized what it was, and after a few hours' work, I think I'm back on track.

Turns out, one of my characters was a bit of a loudmouth. (A shock, I'm sure, for anyone who knows me. You can all stop laughing now. It's kind of insulting.) See, for a hundred pages or so, my protagonist sounded like my protagonist. Then I introduced this other guy, and all of the sudden my protagonist sounded like him. A little rougher, a little less educated, and a whole lot more colorful of speech. Which is fine for the character who's supposed to talk that way, but it's crap for the one who's not. Nothing shatters the illusion of fiction like all the characters sounding alike, and having a voice shift mid-book? Just awful.

Luckily, it proved easy enough to fix, and now that I know to look out for it, it should be easily avoided in the future. I suppose I could've left it for the second draft, but I just don't work that way. Once I know there's a problem that needs addressing, I can't move on until I've dealt with it. But now I have, which frees me up for the totally bad-ass scene I'm writing next. And on the plus side, I just read through the manuscript in its entirety, and I think that, former voice issues aside, it's really pretty good. Now, of course, all that's left is to finish the damn thing...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bag'd and Tagged

Alright, the Bag Man (whose movie choices were so damn good I nearly cribbed 'em as my own) tagged me with this whole four-thing meme that's been infecting writers' blogs of late, and I thought I'd give it a go. So without further ado, let the bloggy narcissism commence!

4 movies you would watch over and over again:
The Player
The Empire Strikes Back
John Carpenter's The Thing
Heathers

4 places you have lived:
A weird-ass hippie co-op in Clinton, NY (don't ask)
A punk-rock hell hotel (okay, crappy not-quite-student apartment, but whatever) in Charlottesville, VA
A boarding house in the lower village of Kennebunk, ME
A funky little out-of-square bungalow in Portland, ME

NOW WITH BONUS! 4 places you have lived (fiction edition):
Poisonville
Arrakis
Castle Rock
The Well of Lost Plots

4 TV shows you love to watch:
Twin Peaks
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Firefly
How I Met Your Mother

4 places you have been on vacation:
St. Thomas
Key West
Salem, Mass (again, don't ask)
Disney World (that's right -- Disney World. I went for the first time ever a few years back, and I freakin' loved it. You know they let you walk around with booze there?)

4 of your favorite foods:
Barbecue (as in Southern, smoked, and preferably served with corn bread and collard greens)
Sushi
Biscuits and sausage gravy
Bacon (on, in, or beside pretty much anything)

4 web sites you visit daily:
Crimespot
The A.V. Club
BoingBoing
Arcaedia

4 places you would rather be right now:
At my desk, writing.
On my front porch, reading (or playing guitar).
Touring the distilleries of Scotland.
Plotting world domination from the safety of my own private moon base.

4 things you'd like to do before you die:
See a novel through to publication.
Make a living as a writer.
Travel to Japan.
Run the table in a game of nine-ball.

4 books you wish you could read again for the first time:
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Tag 4 people you think will respond:
People I think will respond? That's a tall order. Here's four people whose answers I'd be curious to read:
Gabriel Beyers
Sandra Ruttan
Stuart Neville
David Dvorkin

Monday, June 08, 2009

Two Quick Things

Thing One: College reunions are like, seriously, seriously weird. Particularly when you're still recovering from the Plague, and therefore cannot drink to excess. Well, not two nights in a row, at least.

Thing Two: A weekend of traveling is hell on the word count. Bad word counts mean a grumpy, grumpy Chris, but they do have a tendency to light a fire under me, which means they're sort of a down payment on future good word counts.

Now with Bonus Thing Three! Thanks to this weekend, I'll never hear the word 'boondoggle' again without cracking a smile. And chances are I'd have to be quite drunk before I ever tell you why.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Best laid plans...

Hey, you know that really cool thing going down tonight in my hometown? Yeah, I'm not going.

Turns out, cold viruses have a nasty sense of humor. See, I've had a so-mild-I-could-just-ignore-it cold for days now, and I figured by the time the book release rolled around, I'd be right as rain.

Instead, I woke up this morning with a sore throat and what I can only assume is a cinderblock wedged in my sinuses. I could barely get out of bed to call in to work. Methinks partying ain't the best idea ever, and even if it was, giving a writer a cold at his own book release seems like pretty bad form.

Blerg. I guess it's back to bed for me.