Friday, August 28, 2009

Laying back

Got back from vacation this week and haven't done much of anything – nor, for the first time in a long while, do I have a new project on deck. In part, I'm waiting for the page proofs of "Grey Matters," which will pub in the UK in December (and the US soon after). And my agent has sent out "Dogs Don't Lie," my "pet noir," not that we'll hear anything till after Labor Day. And next month, "Shades of Grey," the first Dulcie Schwartz mystery, officially pubs in the US. So it's not like I haven't been busy (and I do have my hands full with various editing assignments, a nice change of pace). But I'm wondering what to work on next. Several readers have queried me about another Theda Krakow book, to follow up "Probable Claws." So maybe I should work on one of those. Or maybe in a few weeks, my Dulcie publisher will ask if I'm game to sign up for two more of those mysteries. Or "Dogs Don't Lie" will sell to a publisher who wants a sequel. Or maybe I'll be moved to start something entirely different.

It's Friday, so I'm definitely not starting anything today. But what should I do next? Wait for a clue from outside or....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Truth in fiction

We were on the beach in Provincetown when the news broke about the CIA hiring Blackwater to carry out assassinations. Strangely enough, this kind of thing was what I talked about with Joe Finder, author of the great new thriller Vanished, in this week's Boston Phoenix. Read it here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oline Cogdill likes "Shades of Grey"!

"It's easy to get caught up in the adventures of grad student Dulcie Schwartz." – Oline Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel

Big sigh of relief - and big thanks out to Sun-Sentinel critic Oline Cogdill!

Simon makes her elements of the supernatural work in `Shades of Grey'

-"Shades of Grey," by Clea Simon; Severn House (216 pages, $28.95)
It's easy to get caught up in the adventures of grad student Dulcie Schwartz in the start of this new series by Massachusetts author Clea Simon.
The appealing Dulcie is at a crossroads in her life: She's looking for a thesis topic in gothic literature; her best friend and usual roommate is gone for the summer; and she's just had to put her beloved cat, Mr. Grey, to sleep. To add to her woes, Tim, her housemate for the summer, is a self-centered jock who has little patience for education and a snobby girlfriend.
Duclie soon thinks she's in a gothic novel herself when Tim is killed. The trauma of having someone murdered in her own home is hard to comprehend. Now his girlfriend keeps coming by looking for something hidden in his room.
Her temp work in an insurance agency takes a weird turn with computer viruses and petty thefts. Then there is the little matter of the ghost of her cat that she swears keeps popping up.
Simon makes her elements of the supernatural work by keeping this aspect as believable as possible in "Shades of Grey." Simon brought that same sense of realism to her four cat mysteries by showing how the felines enhanced the lives of their owners. In that series, she never stooped to making detectives out of the cats, as have other cat mysteries. She brings the same standards to "Shades of Grey."
Simon also layers on the gothic ambience as she shows the joys of a library and the terrors it can hold after dark.
Dulcie is a likable, intelligent young woman who also often says the wrong thing and worries that she doesn't always fit in. She aces the test of realism in "Shades of Grey."

© 2009 San Luis Obispo Tribune and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thank you, Library Journal!

"This series launch ... is for readers who like their feline cozies mixed with a touch of the paranormal." – Library Journal on Shades of Grey

Full review (including what I hope is a typo: Theo?)

Issue: 1ST AUGUST 2009
Shades of Grey, Clea Simon. Severn, $28.95 (240p), Sept 2009, ISBN 978-0-7278-6781-0

Graduate student Dulcie Schwartz is working as a temp and renting a room to another student for the summer to make ends meet. When her roommate is murdered, Dulcie hears her dead cat’s voice warning her about dangers. VERDICT This series launch by the author of the Theo Krakow series (Cries and Whiskers) is for readers who like their feline cozies mixed with a touch of the paranormal.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vicki Lane cracks me up

Vicki Lane, author of the marvelous Elizabeth Goodweather mysteries, never fails to entertain. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Bouchercon a few years back and ever since have read and thoroughly enjoyed her carefully crafted, smart whodunits.Though I believe she may now be working on a standalone, her main series features a smart, feisty widow who runs an herb and flower farm in the Carolina hill country. The latest, In a Dark Season, is up for an Anthony award. And she also provides a monthly newsletter. Today, the newsletter included the following clip - which reminds me of both Elizabeth and (forgive me) Vicki herself. This is what I aspire to.