Blog: In Real Life

Book reviews, marketing observations and advice, and general commentary…

Q&A with James Lee Burke

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Books | 1 comment

This is the fourth year I’ve had the incredible honor and privilege of doing a short interview with James Lee Burke. (Here are previous years’: 2011, 2012, and 2013.) I can honestly say that my excitement about this has waned not one iota, and my admiration for JLB as a consummate storyteller and fantastic human being has only grown.   In addition to being the title of your latest (amazing) book, Wayfaring Stranger is an iconic American folk song, which has been recorded by Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris among...

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Interview with a Character: Rachel Knight

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Interview with a Character | 0 comments

Today marks the release of Marcia Clark’s fourth novel featuring LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight. THE COMPETITION is one of my favorite books so far this year; you can read my review over at Pop Culture Nerd. Being a Special Trials prosecutor in Los Angeles is something Marcia Clark knows more than a little bit about, and so for this Interview with a Character, Marcia was good enough to answer for both herself and Rachel. Enjoy!   You were an accomplished prosecutor, but it must be a frustrating job sometimes. What...

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Flash Fiction: Kill Malmon

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Commentary | 2 comments

I don’t write fiction…except for a really good cause. Click here to read the explanation of this Flash Fiction Challenge. My entry is below. Special thanks to Matthew Clemens and my husband, who were good enough to read it and give me the courage to post it.   Tuesday   “Find something to soak this up.” I froze. “NOW, goddammit!” I turned, almost tripped over the dog, and opened the nearest cupboard. I considered the box of Froot Loops for a second before grabbing the powdered mashed potatoes....

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COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

Karin Slaughter’s first stand-alone novel is a force to be reckoned with. At once a gripping crime novel and astute commentary on American society, it starts off with a bang (literally) and doesn’t let up. The story concerns a spate of cop killings in Atlanta in 1974 and centers on Kate Murphy, who has just joined the police department. That’s right…Kate. A woman. Joins the cops. In 1974. She’s welcomed about as you’d expect, assuming you were born before this date (and if you weren’t, yes, it really was like that). Kate and her partner,...

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SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN by Sarah Hilary

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

I never know quite what to expect when I open a first novel, and finding a good one, with a lead character I like and want to get to know better, is a real treat. SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN is such a delight. Detective Inspector Marnie Rome is tough, smart, and haunted. When she goes to interview a woman at a refuge in London, she happens on a more complex situation than she anticipated, and she never flinches as she confronts a complex web of heinous violence. But let me be clear: The violence in SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN is sometimes graphic, yes, but...

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Adieu, Exhibit A

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Marketing | 2 comments

We woke this morning to the sad news that Angry Robot has shuttered the Exhibit A (crime) and Strange Chemistry (sci-fi) imprints. I’m focusing here on Exhibit A because I’m not familiar with Strange Chemistry (don’t read much sci-fi), but everything I’m about to say likely applies equally to both. At first glance, this seemed like a bizarre move. But like many things, when we follow the money, there’s a logic. I’m no financier, so am not sure whether this makes real sense, but here’s what I’ve been able to figure out: Angry Robot started as...

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Reviewing Reviews

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Books, Commentary, Marketing | 0 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reviews in all their various forms… I have favorite newspaper reviewers…or rather, a favorite.Colette Bancroft is the books editor at my local daily paper, the Tampa Bay Times, and as fate would have it, we have “separated at birth” tastes in books. Her reviews are always smart and considered. And often hilarious; her review ofTampa is an excellent example. I have a bunch of favorite book blogs, among them (and this is far from a comprehensive list) Pop Culture Nerd, BOLO Books,Jen’s Book Thoughts, Jenn’s...

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Who Are You?

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation on Twitter with a new author. He’s pubbed by a small press, and I came across his book when one of his fans sent a, um, bizarre email to a friend who happens to also publish the most influential crime fiction magazine on the planet. I tweeted at him (because I couldn’t find an email address on his website), he responded, and all was right with the world. Yesterday, I got a direct message from this same author containing an invitation to an event in New York. At which point I assumed that he was sending it...

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Books Coming Soon

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Books | 0 comments

Yesterday I requested a bunch of advance copies of books, many of which I hadn’t yet heard about. I wanted to share the list, just in case you hadn’t heard about them yet either. The dates below are the release dates, and the copy is the publisher’s description of each. PHANTOM INSTINCT Meg Gardiner June 26, 2014 When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in...

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THE DAY SHE DIED by Catriona McPherson

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

I am a big fan of Catriona McPherson’s stand-alone novel that was published last year, AS SHE LEFT IT (as well as her Dandy Gilver series). I haven’t gone much more than a week without recommending it to someone since I first read it. So it will come as little surprise that (spoiler alert) I loved THE DAY SHE DIED. Jessie Constable is just like us all—she has secrets. Things about herself that she keeps…private. They’re nobody’s business but her own, really, and her life is going along as well as can be expected. She’s (not unhappily) single,...

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