Wednesday, 15 December 2010 10:20
altHaving your name used as a character in a favorite author's novel is a thrill for any reader. A character's name also is often one of the most popular auction items at mystery fiction conferences.
Some people want to be a character, others bid on a name for a friend, relative or even a pet's name.
Don Bruns' latest novel, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (Oceanview Publishing) is set against the backdrop of a traveling carnival where the rides come off the tracks and people are killed. His protagonists, stumbling and bumbling James Lessor and Skip Moore, are hired to investigate the situation.
While writing the novel, Bruns one day drove pass a farmer’s field, which had an assortment of donkeys, goats, pigs and animals. So Bruns thought he would add
a petting zoo to the carnival.
That gave Bruns' longtime publicist Maryglenn McComb an idea. Why not add Garcia, her 10 1/2-year-old, blind, 125-pound, Old English Sheepdog, to the petting zoo?
Actually, McComb said she didn't ask Bruns, she begged.
And what started as a simple idea made a plot change Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff as Bruns learned that the old dog could learn new tricks.
altIn Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff , Garcia becomes more than a bit player. In fact, according Bruns and McComb, Garcia literally steals the show and becomes a major force in the story.
Not only that, but McComb arranged for Garcia to photo-shopped into Bruns’ author photo.
Garcia's shaggy dog story continues. Garcia has taken to Twitter to share news about his book and his views on life as Garcia. Well, I imagine that McComb probably helps him. Follow him on Twitter @AmazingGarcia.
Bruns, who has auctioned off character names to raise money for charities in the past, says this dogged tale shows how a novel can take a different route than the author expects. “Fiction writers need to remember that you never know where a story will lead—and you never know where the ideas will come from. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a result of an idea, driving by a farm, and an off-the-wall suggestion from my publicist,” said Bruns.
As a devoted and longtime dog owner, I totally understand McComb's desire to get her dog in the novel. Starting with my first dog, Lou, when I was a year and a half, I have never been without a dog. I think I do my work when either Dash or Gizmo are at my feet, as they are now. But I don't dare show my shih tzus Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . They'll just want their own novel.
Don Bruns' Dog Story
Oline Cogdill
don-bruns-dog-story
altHaving your name used as a character in a favorite author's novel is a thrill for any reader. A character's name also is often one of the most popular auction items at mystery fiction conferences.
Some people want to be a character, others bid on a name for a friend, relative or even a pet's name.
Don Bruns' latest novel, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (Oceanview Publishing) is set against the backdrop of a traveling carnival where the rides come off the tracks and people are killed. His protagonists, stumbling and bumbling James Lessor and Skip Moore, are hired to investigate the situation.
While writing the novel, Bruns one day drove pass a farmer’s field, which had an assortment of donkeys, goats, pigs and animals. So Bruns thought he would add
a petting zoo to the carnival.
That gave Bruns' longtime publicist Maryglenn McComb an idea. Why not add Garcia, her 10 1/2-year-old, blind, 125-pound, Old English Sheepdog, to the petting zoo?
Actually, McComb said she didn't ask Bruns, she begged.
And what started as a simple idea made a plot change Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff as Bruns learned that the old dog could learn new tricks.
altIn Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff , Garcia becomes more than a bit player. In fact, according Bruns and McComb, Garcia literally steals the show and becomes a major force in the story.
Not only that, but McComb arranged for Garcia to photo-shopped into Bruns’ author photo.
Garcia's shaggy dog story continues. Garcia has taken to Twitter to share news about his book and his views on life as Garcia. Well, I imagine that McComb probably helps him. Follow him on Twitter @AmazingGarcia.
Bruns, who has auctioned off character names to raise money for charities in the past, says this dogged tale shows how a novel can take a different route than the author expects. “Fiction writers need to remember that you never know where a story will lead—and you never know where the ideas will come from. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a result of an idea, driving by a farm, and an off-the-wall suggestion from my publicist,” said Bruns.
As a devoted and longtime dog owner, I totally understand McComb's desire to get her dog in the novel. Starting with my first dog, Lou, when I was a year and a half, I have never been without a dog. I think I do my work when either Dash or Gizmo are at my feet, as they are now. But I don't dare show my shih tzus Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . They'll just want their own novel.
Sunday, 12 December 2010 10:33
altFor personal reasons, I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between fathers and daughters. Sure, expand it to fathers and sons and even to parents and their children. For the record, I was lucky in that I was close to both of my parents and not a
day goes by that I don't miss them both and wish I could share what is going on in our lives.
But right now, I am thinking about fathers and daughters because that is what this blog is about.
In their latest novels, Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane not only deliver enthralling plots but also their individual look at fathers and daughters add a richness to the subtext of their novels. I've gone on record before as praising both Connelly and Lehane, whose novels both often land high on my best of lists. And both maintain their high standards with Connelly's The Reversal and Lehane's Moonlight Mile.
titleIn The Reversal, Connelly's series hero Harry Bosch is dealing with the daily challenges of fatherhood for the first time. And to make the "challenge" even harder, Bosch's daughter is a young teenager. During the course of The Reversal, Bosch tries to find evidence that will prove a convicted murderer who was recently exonerated truly is guilty.
That plot alone would be enough challenge but Bosch also is learning how to be a father because he has only recently taken custody of his 14-year-old daughter, as well as learning how to be part of an extended family. Neither will come easy.
Lehane returns to his career-making series about Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro in Moonlight Mile. Patrick and Angie, now married and the parents of a 4-year-old daughter, are pulled back into the case of Amanda McCready who was 4 years old when she was kidnapped in Gone Baby Gone (1998). Now 16 years old, Amanda has gone missing again. It's not lost on Patrick that his own child is the same age that Amanda was when she was kidnapped more than a dozen years ago.
(For a more in-depth look at Lehane, check out the profile of him in the Winter issue of Mystery Scene.)
Rather than take away from the gritty plots, each author makes their hero's homelife a vital part of the story, showing the humanity in each detective. Harry and Patrick have more to lose now that they are fathers and each has to think about their child's safety,
wrestle with child care issues and how to show affection when their jobs often require stoicism.
It's especially interesting to see the stages of fatherhood that both Connelly and Lehane depict. Connelly and Lehane are both fathers and the age of their own daughters are close to that of their characters' daughters. Connelly nails the push-pull relationship of a teenager with her father, the need for independence and the need for supervision.
Lehane's scenes with Patrick and his daughter show goofiness that dads can be with their little ones and yet in several scenes Patrick acknowledges that fatherhood isn't easy.
Never once do Connelly or Lehane allow these scenes to become overly sentimental or maudlin. The scenes fit well in the course of the novel and add to each novel's richness. One time, decades ago, readers never had an inkling about a detective's private life because they didn't have one. Thank goodness times have changed.
In these two terrific novels, both Connelly and Lehane have each offered a tribute of sorts to fathers and daughters. I know I thought about my own late father as I read each.
Dennis Lehane will be one of the guests of honor during Sleuthfest March 3-6, 2011, in Fort Lauderdale. Registration is now open.
Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and Fatherhood
Oline Cogdill
michael-connelly-dennis-lehane-and-fatherhood
altFor personal reasons, I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between fathers and daughters. Sure, expand it to fathers and sons and even to parents and their children. For the record, I was lucky in that I was close to both of my parents and not a
day goes by that I don't miss them both and wish I could share what is going on in our lives.
But right now, I am thinking about fathers and daughters because that is what this blog is about.
In their latest novels, Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane not only deliver enthralling plots but also their individual look at fathers and daughters add a richness to the subtext of their novels. I've gone on record before as praising both Connelly and Lehane, whose novels both often land high on my best of lists. And both maintain their high standards with Connelly's The Reversal and Lehane's Moonlight Mile.
titleIn The Reversal, Connelly's series hero Harry Bosch is dealing with the daily challenges of fatherhood for the first time. And to make the "challenge" even harder, Bosch's daughter is a young teenager. During the course of The Reversal, Bosch tries to find evidence that will prove a convicted murderer who was recently exonerated truly is guilty.
That plot alone would be enough challenge but Bosch also is learning how to be a father because he has only recently taken custody of his 14-year-old daughter, as well as learning how to be part of an extended family. Neither will come easy.
Lehane returns to his career-making series about Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro in Moonlight Mile. Patrick and Angie, now married and the parents of a 4-year-old daughter, are pulled back into the case of Amanda McCready who was 4 years old when she was kidnapped in Gone Baby Gone (1998). Now 16 years old, Amanda has gone missing again. It's not lost on Patrick that his own child is the same age that Amanda was when she was kidnapped more than a dozen years ago.
(For a more in-depth look at Lehane, check out the profile of him in the Winter issue of Mystery Scene.)
Rather than take away from the gritty plots, each author makes their hero's homelife a vital part of the story, showing the humanity in each detective. Harry and Patrick have more to lose now that they are fathers and each has to think about their child's safety,
wrestle with child care issues and how to show affection when their jobs often require stoicism.
It's especially interesting to see the stages of fatherhood that both Connelly and Lehane depict. Connelly and Lehane are both fathers and the age of their own daughters are close to that of their characters' daughters. Connelly nails the push-pull relationship of a teenager with her father, the need for independence and the need for supervision.
Lehane's scenes with Patrick and his daughter show goofiness that dads can be with their little ones and yet in several scenes Patrick acknowledges that fatherhood isn't easy.
Never once do Connelly or Lehane allow these scenes to become overly sentimental or maudlin. The scenes fit well in the course of the novel and add to each novel's richness. One time, decades ago, readers never had an inkling about a detective's private life because they didn't have one. Thank goodness times have changed.
In these two terrific novels, both Connelly and Lehane have each offered a tribute of sorts to fathers and daughters. I know I thought about my own late father as I read each.
Dennis Lehane will be one of the guests of honor during Sleuthfest March 3-6, 2011, in Fort Lauderdale. Registration is now open.
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 10:26
altI am a major fan of audio books. No, they do not replace the joy of holding an actual novel, but audio books have gotten me through many a long, traffic-ridden drive.
While I have no actual statistics for this, I wouldn't be surprised if audio books prevented road rage. Who wants a fight when you're at a crucial part of book?
So it makes perfect sense to me that as authors find new platforms to get their work to readers that a novel would be written specially for audio.
Readers can now enjoy the only-in-audio novel Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli. It is performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos) and narrator Joe Barrett (A Prayer for Owen Meany). It's available at Audible.com.
Fusilli has published a number of excellent mysteries, inclucing Closing Time, Tribeca Blues and Hard Hard City in the Terry Orr series. Fusilli also is a Wall Street Journal music critic and contributing writer to 2008 Audiobook of the Year, The Chopin Manuscript.
With Narrows Gate, Fusilli shows a new leap in his writing. Audible.com describes Narrows Gate as "a powerful epic in the spirit of The Godfather and On the Waterfront, Narrows Gate follows the fates of three men as their lives intersect with the dangerous and seductive power of the Mob in a vividly imagined, fictional version of 1940s Hoboken."
I'd say that description is right. In the couple of samples I listened to, Narrows Gatehas the makes of a well-plotted novel with strong, believable characters. It also helps, too, that Pantoliano, who is a Hoboken native, captures each character's distinct voice. Set in the first half of the 20th century, Narrows Gateis set in Manhattan, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Havana, Miami, and Hoboken, NJ, where Fusilli was born and raised.
Straight to audio is a trend I think we will see more of. And Fusilli's Narrows Gate is just the beginning.
Jim Fusilli's Narrows Gate
Oline Cogdill
jim-fusillis-narrows-gate
altI am a major fan of audio books. No, they do not replace the joy of holding an actual novel, but audio books have gotten me through many a long, traffic-ridden drive.
While I have no actual statistics for this, I wouldn't be surprised if audio books prevented road rage. Who wants a fight when you're at a crucial part of book?
So it makes perfect sense to me that as authors find new platforms to get their work to readers that a novel would be written specially for audio.
Readers can now enjoy the only-in-audio novel Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli. It is performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos) and narrator Joe Barrett (A Prayer for Owen Meany). It's available at Audible.com.
Fusilli has published a number of excellent mysteries, inclucing Closing Time, Tribeca Blues and Hard Hard City in the Terry Orr series. Fusilli also is a Wall Street Journal music critic and contributing writer to 2008 Audiobook of the Year, The Chopin Manuscript.
With Narrows Gate, Fusilli shows a new leap in his writing. Audible.com describes Narrows Gate as "a powerful epic in the spirit of The Godfather and On the Waterfront, Narrows Gate follows the fates of three men as their lives intersect with the dangerous and seductive power of the Mob in a vividly imagined, fictional version of 1940s Hoboken."
I'd say that description is right. In the couple of samples I listened to, Narrows Gatehas the makes of a well-plotted novel with strong, believable characters. It also helps, too, that Pantoliano, who is a Hoboken native, captures each character's distinct voice. Set in the first half of the 20th century, Narrows Gateis set in Manhattan, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Havana, Miami, and Hoboken, NJ, where Fusilli was born and raised.
Straight to audio is a trend I think we will see more of. And Fusilli's Narrows Gate is just the beginning.