Monday, January 25, 2010

Thank you, Booklist!

My Grey Matters officially pubs in March – here's my first pre-pub review:

Grey Matters, Simon, Clea (Author), Mar 2010. 240 p. Severn, hardcover, $28.95. (9780727868404).

Simon’s second Dulcie Schwartz mystery picks up a few months after the end of Shades of Grey (2009), with Harvard doctoral student Dulcie deep into her fall semester, overloaded with grading papers and concerned about getting her adviser’s approval on her thesis. Then she finds the body of a fellow graduate student on her adviser’s front step. The ghost of Mr. Grey, her deceased cat, returns to offer his usual cryptic advice, and her new kitten takes a noncommittal stance toward crime-solving, leaving Dulcie on her own to try and find the real murderer before the killer finds her. While the cats are an important part of the book, they are not an overwhelming presence, in fact, the academic setting is a much stronger part of the novel’s appeal, making this easily recommendable to readers who enjoy Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series or Jennifer Lee Carrel’s literary thriller Interred with Their Bones (2007), which also has significant scenes set in Harvard’s Widener Library. A solid follow-up to an entertaining debut.

Grey Matters is already available through Amazon and at such indies as Harvard Book Store and Brookline Booksmith. (Folks who want a signed copy can order one from those two bookstores - then email me to let me know.)

James Patterson, not so much

Why does James Patterson bother? From reading the New York Times profile, I've learned that he has five "co-authors" who actually writethe books he drafts. He skews his plots for marketing purposes. He's abandoned his early literary potential to write sadomasochistic rape/torture thrillers. And he does this why? Don't get me wrong. I'd love to have tons of money. But if that were my main motivation, I think I'd have gone into a different profession - plumbing, for example. I write because I want to write. What James Patterson does? Not so much...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting ready for GREY MATTERS!

Coming soon! Officially, a March 1, 2010, book. But, because it was published in Dec. in the UK and, I guess, copies shipped, it's already available at a few places (primarily online.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker, RIP

A few years ago, I had the honor of being on a panel at the Concord Literary Festival with Robert B. Parker. I'd seen the local luminary - the creator of the Spenser mysteries, and arguably the reviver of hard-boiled crime fiction - before, often. When Jon and I would splurge for a dinner at Rialto, we'd see him comfortably ensconced on one of the restaurant's big wraparound banquettes. When I'd squeeze into Kate's Mystery Books for her annual holiday party, it was usually after Parker had made his annual appearance - and the crowd had subsided somewhat. He was, like his hero, larger than life.

In truth, at the Concord fest, I was a little shocked, even put off, when he told a capacity crowd that he never re-wrote. He never, or so he said, even re-read what he'd written. He simply wrote – and sent off the ms. Since I'm one of those writers who consider revising a manuscript a form of torture, I envied him. How wonderful to be able to just dash off a draft – and have it published! I remember thinking that was how he managed to be so prolific, but also that this was exactly why I'd stopped reading him recently. The quality of his work had fallen off, at least to this reader.

But to hear that he died at his writing desk yesterday morning, hard at work at something, despite it being a holiday... well, that's inspiring.

What I wrote for the Globe:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nora in concerto!

Words do not do this Lithuanian composer's orchestration of Nora the Piano-Playing Cat's music justice. Just watch.

Yup, I need new photos

Musetta is still sporting this classic look, but I've replaced this old iMac with a sleek flat-screen model. Sadly, the mess on the desk remains pretty much the same! Anyway, Musetta once again takes her place among literary fat cats in today's Galleycat.