Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Calumet City an amazing 'debut novel'

This business comes packed with more rejection than the average person faces in a lifetime, unless you sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door, cause I know someone who does and that's another job where there's a lotta door slamming going on.

That said, when a debut novel is creating buzz those of us in the business realize there's a good chance the author who wrote it has half a dozen manuscripts under his/her bed that have never been published, which is good news for readers, because it means they're about to read a 'debut novel' from a talented author on the rise who not only writes like a dream, but is probably business savvy and has battle scars from years of rejection to prove he/she can stay the course.

Charlie Newton is one of those writers.

We started our writing careers in the same classroom seven years ago. Charlie writes noir fiction, the kind you read with the lights on and a baseball bat next to you. He's also written eight novels in eight years, and after a whack of steady rejection on every level, his eighth -- considered his debut novel -- is being released March 4th. It's called Calumet City and yes, it is as good as the reviews below say it is.

Here's his website and when you buy his book, you might wanna buy one of those baseball bats, too!

"Readers are likely to need a day off work after finishing Newton's breakneck debut—they'll have been up all night. Those who relish tortured heroines, unrelenting intensity, and full-throttle races through urban minefields will snatch this one up." —Booklist (starred review)

"The best cop noir in years..." —Lee Child, NYT bestselling author

"Newton's debut novel is a galloping ride from first page to last." —Kirkus Reviews

"In Newton's searing debut, Patti Black, Chicago's most decorated cop, gets caught in a web of murder and betrayal. Newton, who based his heroine's character on a real Chicago police officer, creates a netherworld full of violent and duplicitous people." —Publishers Weekly

"Couldn't put it down. Newton's one hell of a writer..." —Jonathan Eig, senior special writer for The Wall Street Journal

Monday, February 25, 2008

At the mercy of technology

It started last week and it's been going down hill fast... I can no longer check email cause my system won't recognize the wireless card. It suddenly won't print, either. Then yesterday, I turned it off and backed away for six hours so I wouldn't toss it against a wall, and when I returned I learned the battery had died. Now the only way it works is if it's plugged in and I type in s-l-o-w motion so it doesn't lock up (ever met a writer who types slowly?)

Clearly February 2008 won't go down as one of my best months. Gah!! Isn't it crazy how dependent we are on technology and how fast a person's mood goes south when things go wrong?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Research & other pursuits

I've been working on my new novel, The Keeper of the Pond, and while doing so I keep having to stop to look up details I otherwise wouldn't have to if the front end of the story wasn't set in the 1930s and 40s. This is new for me, because my other novels have been set in current day. Still, I'm enjoying it.

ie., I had to insert three lines into a scene where a family is listening to a radio, but what kind of radio? (Philco radios were common back then btw) While googling I found this photo. Isn't it gorgeous? Oh, how I wish I could have this sculpture in my office!

Also, while looking for info on shipping & distribution in the 50s, I found this snapshot of a man who built a 'traveling hotel bed' which he pulled 1200 miles behind a bike from Michigan to Boston to save money along the way. Can you even begin to imagine sleeping in this thing?!

Moving on from that burst of enthusiasm...

Reminder: This month's contest to win your own jazzy little silver compass and an autographed copy of the book (due out April 1/08) closes Feb 29th. If you haven't already done so, you can enter by sending an email to including your name and an email address where you can be contacted. Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BC Book Fair + Fellow authors news

I just got back from the BC Book Fair in Victoria, an annual event attended by 50+ independent book sellers. It was a great trip... as long as I take out the part where I learned enroute that my identity has been stolen. But let's not go there!! Let's stick to a post about books so I don't blow a gasket...

I came home from the book fair with a dozen ARCs of upcoming novels and a few spring/summer catalogues.

Flipping through one, I was thrilled to see that Kristy Kiernan has her 2nd novel coming out in August 2008 so mark your calendars and watch for Matters of Faith everyone!

Beyond that, Therese Fowler's debut, Souvenir, came out across North America yesterday. Therese was kind enough to send me a copy and although I haven't read it yet, I'm looking forward to starting it this weekend. It's been sold in numerous foreign countries, was chosen as a Book Sense Notable, and is creating a lot of industry buzz!

On a final note, I also stumbled across a gorgeous two-page spread in Berkley's catalogue promoting Patricia Wood's June 2008 paperback release of her debut Lottery.

NOTE: I'm having ZERO luck with Blogger adding links to this post, so I give up. Instead, scroll down my sidebar and check out blogs and websites for Therese Fowler, Patricia Wood, and Kristy Kiernan.

Ladies, you rock! I hope the author highway continues being kind to you, and I also hope you're able to hang onto your identity along the way :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Upcoming Events & Appearances to promote The Silver Compass

The Silver Compass will be released April 1st and we've begun scheduling events and appearances. Check the sidebar on your right for a list of where and when. Oh, and Ohio readers? A reading has been set for Cleveland! Chicago & Winnipeg are also confirmed: see sidebar.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What would be your bliss?

Two years ago, I went through a bad period with my back, a problem that revisits whenever I sit for long stretches of time writing. A friend suggested I try acupuncture & cupping, a toxin busting procedure where glass cups are heated and placed on your skin to suck out impurities & restore circulation.

I decided to give both a shot, a big decision for me because I have zero tolerance for pain. None. On any level.

The woman I went to couldn't speak English, and I was so scared I couldn't speak. Put these together and you'd think the results would be hit and miss. Not so. After three sessions, I felt better than I had in years.

My husband suggested I reward myself when I complete a novel, sort of like how novelist Paul Sheldon in the movie Misery has one cigarette and a glass of champagne each time he finishes a book. I've decided he's right, and if you're a writer, I think you should do the same thing. Finish a novel, get a spoil day.

What would be your bliss? I'm gonna hunt down the Chinese lady who stuck pins in my back and see if she remembers the trembling customer she took care of two years ago!