Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Guest Blogging on Babel Clash

This is fun! I'm guest blogging for the next week (minus a few days around Christmas) over at Babel Clash on the Borders website. The topic is the balancing act between creating the world of your story, and moving the action along quickly. Definitely something I spend a lot of time thinking about, so it's a great subject for this.

Check it out here: Babel Clash

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Trailer

A huge thanks to everyone at Harper who put this together. Especially for following the #1 rule for making a cool trailer, whether it's for a book, a film, or a TV show: military helicopters are always cool. (FYI, a corollary to this rule is that, in the case of a comedy, monkeys are always funny; alas there are no monkeys in The Breach.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The first few chapters of The Breach are available online now at the HarperCollins site! If you're not busy, you can check them out here. Hopefully you'll be hooked! (I'll settle for grudgingly compelled to find out how it ends.)

Thanks to my editor Diana Gill for the link, by way of a very kind post on the Eos Blog.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Starred review, and pick of the week, in Publisher's Weekly!!

Now officially entering pinch-myself territory: check out the review here.

Thanks to Jordan Foster at Publisher's Weekly, and everyone else involved!! I can't say it enough!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Carl Sagan

He would've only been 75 years old today. I was surprised to realize that, and reminded of how untimely his death was. It's hard to think about what else he would've written in these past thirteen years. Or the next thirteen, or more. If you've never read The Demon-Haunted World, I can't recommend it strongly enough. I've read it several times, and it's easily my favorite nonfiction book. And if you've never watched Cosmos, forget this blog post and get thee to Hulu. The whole series is there, and it's amazing how, after three decades, it's hardly dated at all. Just don't start it if you have any important work to do in the next thirteen hours.

Here are the first five minutes:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I went to Bouchercon last week, Wednesday through Sunday, after looking forward to it for months on end. It was an amazing time. I finally got to meet my agent, Janet Reid, more than two years after signing with her. I also met several of her clients, who up until then I'd only seen or talked to online: Gary Corby, Dan Krokos, Dana Cameron, Andrew Grant, and Eric Stone. Oh, yeah, and I got to thank Lee Child in person for the blurb that's going on the cover of The Breach.

Also got to meet a lot of people from HarperCollins, which was extremely cool. Great to be able to thank them in person for everything they're doing with the book. I know I can't begin to understand the amount of work they're all doing on this, but I'm very, very grateful.

Thanks also to Kathryn Kennison and everybody at the Indiana Humanities Council. The panel on Wednesday evening was a great time, and thankfully much less intimidating an environment than I'd imagined. (Speaking in front of groups is something I'm still working on; the two times in my life I've had to make wedding toasts, I haven't gotten much sleep the night before.)

The five days at Bouchercon flew. It occurred to me only later that I'd pretty much blocked out the entire world beyond the interior of the Indianapolis Hyatt. I got back to my place on Sunday afternoon, went online, and learned that the world had been transfixed for several days by the exploits of Balloon Boy. Wow. How did I manage to survive five whole days without exposure to the 24-hour news cycle? I must be like one of those monks who can slow down their metabolism by sheer willpower, and live for weeks without food or water.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Anyone who happened to visit this site in the past month was probably a bit confused by what they saw. To make a very long story short, this site was under someone else's control for a while. The domain registration lapsed without my knowing (that's part of what makes it a long story), and someone else snagged it out from under me and turned it into an SEO site to advertise writing contests. Just the kind of thing you want happening, when your first book is a couple months from hitting the stands, and your website address is printed on the back cover.

Anyway, four very frustrating weeks later it's back in my clutches. I'll say this much: if you have a private domain, make sure your ownership of it is set up to auto-renew at each deadline, or at the very least, make sure you remember what the deadline is. In my case, two things went wrong: I thought I had auto-renew set up (I didn't), and I also changed e-mail addresses in the past year, and forgot to update the e-mail address I had on file with my domain registrar. So when my domain was getting ready to expire, they were sending me notifications, but I wasn't getting any of them. I didn't know anything was wrong until the day I went to my own site and found someone else's page there instead of mine. If you're looking to pioneer whole new ways of combining expletives at high pitch and/or volume, then I heartily recommend going through this experience.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Five of these showed up in the mail (well, UPS) yesterday:

Boy... there are some pretty big moments for a writer, getting started, and this is definitely one of them. The first time you can actually pick up a copy of your book and flip through it. It's even got that ink smell that's somehow unique to the publishing industry, and hasn't changed by a molecule in probably a century or more. (I can personally only date it back to the first Dean Koontz and Stephen King paperbacks I read in the eighties.)

This feels surreal. And very cool.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Behind the Scenes at a Book Binding Company

This is like porn for any writer dreaming of that first hardcover. I'd embed it here, but for some reason YouTube has disabled that for this video. Anyway, enjoy:

Automated Binding of C-SPAN's Abraham Lincoln Book

You can even click the little HQ button toward the bottom right of the video frame, to watch it in high-def.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Oregon Trail

I remember it being just about the only game anyone ever played in the computer lab in my high school, in the early nineties... but for some reason I never got into it, and just now, a few hours after midnight on February 6, 2009, was the first time I ever played Oregon Trail. It's online here.

I went as a carpenter, and I made it to Oregon on my first try. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Been a while

Looks like it's been a couple months since I've updated this blog. I was finishing off the second book, using an advance test model of one of those new Apples. I can't say I recommend it if you're up against a deadline:

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard