Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bay City Holiday

I know San Francisco is supposed to be perennially shrouded in fog--and we do get quite a bit of the atmospheric pea soup variety--but sometimes it's just plain mild and sunny, even in December. Those are the days when you remember you're in California. :)

During the holidays, there's an ice rink in Union Square, smack dab in the middle of the downtown shopping district ... right next to lit palm trees. And cable cars and the vintage streetcars that travel down Market are decked out in wreathes and garland ... and the rotating star at the top of the Sir Francis Drake is just a little extra bright.

I had occasion to go downtown on Saturday--a visit to Melissa at Secret Agent Salon, the most fabulous stylist and team in the Bay Area--and thought I'd share some photos of what San Francisco is like during the holiday season.

Chinatown, as you can see, was thronged with shoppers, bargain-hunting in the small stores that line Grant and California. Gold garlands added a festive touch to the always festive lantern street lights, while banners and lanterns make every day a holiday when you shop in Chinatown.

Still ... atmosphere reins. The Li Po bar, like most of its brethren, opens early and closes late. And Sam Wo--one of my favorite places to eat, with its no-frills set-up, huge and delicious portions, cheap prices and dumbwaiter to deliver the food upstairs--is always quintessential Chinatown, as downscale as the Empress of China is upscale. (BTW, the Empress had a delicious drink of the same name, with Midori liqueur. Tell 'em I sent you. ;) ).

Not too many blocks away is Union Square, Christmas Tree and the Menorah keeping company with the Dewey Monument (the column), and the famous heart painted by Tony Bennett for our Hearts of San Francisco city-wide fund-raising exhibit a few years ago.

I was in Union Square for the ceremony when this particular heart was dedicated ... and had a chance to both hear Mr. Bennett croon a few notes of you-know-what song, and actually got to thank him for the years of artistry and enjoyment he's given me and millions of other fans around the globe. Tony may have been born in New York, but he's a San Franciscan, through and through. :)

Later in the evening--the sun sets early this time of year, particularly in the downtown canyons--I had a chance to eat at John's Grill, another favorite restaurant, and celebrated home of The Maltese Falcon. I indulged in a Bloody Brigid--their signature drink, named after Hammett's femme fatale, of course--and a Jack LaLanne Salad. I grew up with "The Godfather of Fitness", and he's still in good shape--and recently celebrated his 95th birthday at John's.

John's--which is next to one of my favorite buildings in the city, the stately Flood Building, where Hammett worked as a Pinkerton (I worked in it during one summer, decidedly not as a Pinkerton)--has a cameo in CITY OF DRAGONS. A more prominent role in the book is played by the Pickwick Hotel, which dominates the corner of Mission and 5th, directly across the street from the Old Mint.

The Pickwick is mentioned in The Maltese Falcon, and my own history with it goes back to a fondly-remembered 8th grade trip. :)

Market Street is busy this time of year ... it boasts lighted snow flakes on every corner, and street musicians share the street with the homeless.

San Francisco's not a perfect city, and it can be a mean and dangerous place ... even more so than in 1940. But there is something about the place we call The City that is timeless, that transcends its politics, its Mayors, its debauchery and its decadence.

She's a grand old dame ... and a profound inspiration. I'm lucky to be able to spend the holidays with her! :)

May you and yours have a joyous and festive season ... and thanks for reading Writing in the Dark! Noir City is just around the corner ...


I also wanted to share some really wonderful news: CITY OF DRAGONS is an Indie Next Pick for February, and just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! I'm very, very grateful ... and proud that the subtitle is "A San Francisco Mystery." :)

I'm also giving away a scarce signed advanced reading copy of CITY OF DRAGONS, along with a gift basket from Chinatown. Just go to my website and sign up for my newsletter to be entered ... the drawing will be at the end of December!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I seem to be posting from holiday to holiday these days. Partially from being behind (thanks to the flu) partially because life is whizzing by in a blur and there's a lot on all my myriad to-do lists.

Hard to believe it's only three months until CITY OF DRAGONS is out. And still videos and podcasts to come!

As for me, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. Whether or not I lose my noir street cred and sound like a sap, here goes ... I am extraordinarily thankful and blessed to have a lot of wonderful people in my life.

To have both my dear parents. To have a wonderful family. To have a circle of amazing friends, many of them incredibly talented authors, whether of books or blogs or book reviews. To be blessed with the best agent and agent team, the most supportive, wonderful editor and publishing team. To have my books published in a very tough economic climate and get a chance to literally see my dreams come true.

See? I told you I was going to be sappy. ;)

But seriously, I am thankful for so many things, and one day just doesn't begin to cover them all. Right now, I'm looking at a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific Ocean. And I'm thankful for that, too.

Wherever you are, dear reader--and I hope it's someplace warm and safe--I hope you have a joyous week ahead, whether or not Thanksgiving is part of this month's calendar. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows' Eve

As I write this, my neighborhood is full of ghoulies and ghosties and short-leggedy beasties, all scrambling for candy. Dressed in hodge-podge homemade costumes and store-bought accessories, kids of all ages revel in Halloween and the celebration of social trust it represents. I do, too. :) All Hallows' Eve is a magical night ...

It was just three years ago, on a Halloween night in 2006, when I finished the sequel to NOX DORMIENDA. I had neither a publisher nor representation, and I wasn't at all sure I would be able to find either. But I had to finish MALEDICTUS (Cursed), had to finish a story that was wrapped up, in a way, with Halloween. A story dealing with curses, with ghosts, with necromancers, and with violations of that social compact that underlies our modern holiday.

Sure, it takes place two thousand plus years ago, nine months after the events of NOX DORMIENDA -- in October, 84 A.D. But it's a Halloween type of mystery, and a continuation of Roman Noir, all the same.

It's been quite a three years. NOX was published, won the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery, was nominated for a Macavity, and will be published in Italy and Greece. My second series, set in 1940 San Francisco, is going to be published by Thomas Dunne/Minotaur starting with CITY OF DRAGONS on February 2, 2010. A short story prequel to CITY OF DRAGONS will be in FIRST THRILLS, an upcoming International Thriller Writers anthology featuring bestselling and emerging authors, publishing in June of next year by Tor ... my story "Children's Day" will be in print among writers whose work I venerate.

And now ... the Arcturus Series will continue! My Halloween book, finished three years ago tonight, will be published by Thomas Dunne/Minotaur. We're calling it CURSED, and hoping that it does NOT live up to its name. ;)

We celebrated at Bouchercon, this and other good news ... CITY OF DRAGONS will be available through all three major book clubs (Mystery Guild alternate selection; Book of the Month, Quality Paperback Book Club). We gathered as a community of mystery readers and writers and publishers and media, and in that gathering I celebrated career things, personal things, family things, mostly the feeling of being very, very blessed in many ways. I count those blessings every day.

And on Halloween ... even with a lingering cough from a bout of bronchitis ... I like to spread those blessings around. :) Have a safe, blessed, and wonderful All Hallows' Eve ... and thanks for reading Writing in the Dark!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bouchercon Countdown!

In about three weeks I'll be on the way to Indianapolis and my third Bouchercon. I can't wait!

CITY OF DRAGONS got the push off from goal to paper after my first Bouchercon in Anchorage, in 2007. I now have the thrill of going to my third Bouchercon, knowing the book will be coming out February 2nd from Thomas Dunne/Minotaur Books, and that it is dedicated to my family and the friends I met in Anchorage.

It's been quite a journey. :)

In the meantime, I've been busy. I'm involved in several events at the
PPWebCon (first ever virtual crime fiction convention!), and have a lot of work to do before leaving for Indianapolis. I just concluded a two part interview with Jen Forbus on the fabulous Jen's Book Thoughts. I also enjoyed an interview with thriller writer Kathy-Diane Reveille on her wonderful Behind the Books blog. I've got a post for the always interesting WordNerd coming up, and I just wrote a Noir Bar review on one of my favorite film noirs--In a Lonely Place--for Pop Syndicate.

I've also released the trailer for
CITY OF DRAGONS ... and am proud to say that the footage is genuine 1940 San Francisco film, in color.

I hope you like it ... and hope to see you at one or more of my stops along the way to Bouchercon ... and maybe even at the conference itself. Thanks for reading Writing in the Dark!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time is Relative ...

Can you believe August is over, pfft, gone? Here we are, September 1st, suffering all the endless and aged puns on back to school. Back to Cool? School Daze? Ouch. Where's Lulu when you need her?

I've been absent ... not, with apologies to Shakespeare, in the spring ... but throughout the month of August. Unfortunately--in the middle of the month, and while I was in the middle of setting up my new computer and reorganizing the messy but beloved room I write in--I can't call it a home office, that gives me hives--I came down with what the doctor thought was an upper respiratory infection. It soon migrated to my throat and probably became strep, after which he doused me in antibiotics and I emerged, Lazarus-like, about ten days later.

That took care of the middle of the month. Fortunately, my mom was staying with me on a visit, and she took care of me. My mother's chicken soup is at least as salubrious as antibiotics.

As soon as I became ambulatory, I plunged into going over copy edits for CITY OF DRAGONS. I just finished the process a few days ago, and that takes me to the end of the month. See what I mean? I've had Augusts that crawled by, but this one really flew.

Now I'm getting ready for Bouchercon in October (my panel is Saturday) and preparing to launch the book trailer video for CITY OF DRAGONS next week. And finishing up a much-delayed Noir Bar article for Pop Syndicate, and getting ready for an interview on one of my favorite blogs, Jen's Book Thoughts, and working on about a thousand other things--videos, podcasts, website stuff, articles, the Poisoned Pen Virtual Conference on October 24th--and oh, yeah--the CITY OF DRAGONS sequel. The working title is COUNTRY OF SPIDERS.

I'll be back next week with more news ... and maybe my mom's chicken soup recipe. ;) In the meantime, stay safe--and thanks for reading!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to the Future

It's been crazier than usual--and it's usually crazy! :) All good stuff--just a lot of it! We have so many cool plans for the website that require a certain mastery of technology and video software, I feel like I've enrolled in an intensive video-editing course.

We're working on the book trailer for CITY OF DRAGONS, and will be launching
a cool web map of San Francisco highlighting places mentioned in the book -- locations we'll explore in more detail through videos. I'll also be launching a series of podcasts about some of the historical and thematic aspects to the novel.

All this by way of saying that I'm late to the gate with Writing in the Dark ... but if I'm tardy, at least you'll know where I am. ;)

Friday, though, I was somewhere unexpected. And fun! I ventured out of foggy San Francisco to the 95+ degree weather of Davis (home of U.C. Davis and some of the best farm produce in California).

The occasion? An invitation to speak to the national conference of the National Junior Classical League. About 1,300 junior and senior high school students from around the country converged at the university for a full week of colloquia, talks, and presentations, culminating in an outdoor Roman banquet that was strictly BYOT--Bring Your Own Toga.

These are some of the brightest young people you'll meet anywhere. They all share a love of antiquity, history, literature. The NJCL was established in 1936--the '30s saw a big resurgence in fascination with the ancient world, not all of it sanguinary (i.e. Mussolini). It's now the largest classical organization in the world.

And given the daunting problems facing our ever-shrinking, ever-warming little planet, meeting these young men and women and their tireless, devoted teachers certainly made me feel more optimistic about the future. I could insert any number of quotes about being doomed to repeat what we don't learn from the past, but hey--we already know that.

I had a great time. And knowing that a writer I admire tremendously--Steven Saylor--spoke to the kids earlier in the week made it all that more special for me.

To top off the day in the sun, we returned via the Napa-Sonoma Highway to pick up the dog at his B&B. Yeah, I know, you're thinking "California!" But if you can let your dog romp outside and have a great time in the (wine) country, why not? And the B&B owners are a wonderful French couple who take care the very best care of your dogs--but still let them be dogs.

Anyway, across the street and just down the road from Bertie's vacation getaway, we spotted a new/old diner. An ancient landmark drive-in hamburger place closed down about a year ago, and finally--even in the middle of The Recession--a new business opened up in the same spot.

And we found ...

The best hamburgers in California. I'm talking absolute bliss, and I don't eat much beef. The place is called the Fremont Diner, and it's like comfort food except gourmet and healthy. I know that doesn't sound possible, but honestly--what else can you call a fried pie with no sugar added organic apricot filling? Or grass-fed Napa Valley beef burgers? Or milkshakes thicker than the blush on a Zinfadel grape?

To top off the feeling of nirvana, they have a wonderful sense of design and simplicity in the interior, preserving the 30s/40s feel, sell homemade jam (Santa Rosa plum!), and have two sweet senior dogs who wander loose, accompany you to your car, and beg politely for food.

It was so perfect that I'm beginning to wonder if it really does exist. Fortunately, I found evidence that they do on Facebook. So ... if you're up in wine country, between Sonoma and Napa, and you get lost along the Carneros Highway ... don't worry. It's not the Twilight Zone--it's the Fremont Diner!

We're thinking of letting Bertie take more vacations ...

Until next time ... thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;

Back in high school when I first read these lines I was struck by the poet's confidence in words. His cocky self-assurance that the gift of a few words will grant a more everlasting memorial than, say, the graveyard called the Pyramids or the love note known as the Taj Mahal.

But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.

Of course, that was the poet's persona--a brashly confident young man who, like many a poet before and since, used metaphors and rhythm and rhyming couplets to woo his lover of choice.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory.

The living record of memory. Something all authors contend with, have struggled with, and it's a memory that has only become shorter and more overloaded with each passing century, decade, year, month. The young man who wrote this sonnet bravely wielded pen like sword against the aggregate forces of time and anonymity, seeking solace in the pursuit of affection and immortality in his attempt to win it.

'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.

"Choose me," he whispers, "and you will live forever." Such is the potency of words; such is the power of poetry.

Funny thing is, the young man who wrote this had no idea that 400 years later his words would be available 24/7, broadcast freely to a global market, translated by machines, not priests or scribes or scholars or his somewhat bitchy friend Ben Johnson.

The poet's name was Shakespeare, and he was whistling in the dark.

Y'see, "sluttish time" is on my mind today, though I consider her more of a flirt. NOX DORMIENDA turned one on July 18th.

Now, those who know me know I like to celebrate as much as possible ... but I'm kind of quietly humbled right now, amazed at how blessed I've been that this tiny little book from a tiny little publisher is still attracting readers and will hopefully be available from a larger press in paperback (with the sequel coming out next year). Stay tuned for further news ...

In the year since NOX debuted, I've learned that the greatest gift of being a writer is the community I've met--readers,
writers, book stores, publishers, editors, bloggers, reviewers, journalists, publicists, agents ... people. That is the sweetest blessing of all, and I am so, so lucky to be here and with them and on the road I've traveled!

And what else has happened in the last year?

Bruce Alexander Award. Macavity nomination. Foreign rights sold in Italy and Greece for NOX.

In January, in the midst of the publishing freefall, moving to Thomas Dunne/Minotaur with CITY OF DRAGONS, finding my dream editor and publisher thanks to my dream agent.

And now, after a fabulous and incredible Thrillerfest, where the news was first announced, I can add that "Children's Day", my short story prequel to CITY OF DRAGONS, will be in the next ITW anthology--publishing June, 2010 by Tor. It's called FIRST THRILLS, and will feature 12 "bestselling authors of today" with 12 "bestselling authors of tomorrow". More details later, but how humbled I am to be keeping such company!

It's been a year of bounty and profound gratitude, of feeling at home and like dreams really do come true if you wish upon a star, like living a Disney movie directed by Gary Marshall.

Last October, I thought NOX would be a bare blip on the radar screen, long forgotten a year later. And while I don't make any claim to it outlasting either monuments or someone's new marble countertop for the kitchen, the fact that I can celebrate its year-old birthday with the strong hope of continuing the series at a major publisher is, well, a miracle.

Add CITY OF DRAGONS--what I hope will be a true breakout novel--and I just might break into song at any moment. ;)

Thank you all for helping me get here, on this road and at this moment ... I'm lighting a candle ... and in the years ahead, hoping for a few more. :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New York, New York!

It's been an adventurous week!

No time to write about Vertigo, unfortunately--gotta save it for next time. I haven't had much time to do anything but work on some deadlines for the website relaunch, which we wanted to have happen before Thrillerfest, but looks like will happen the week after. And speaking of Thrillerfest ...

New York awaits! The conference is always exciting, and it's in the most exciting city on the planet, so ... I'm gearing up. Meetings. Parties. Panels. Non-stop, "city that never sleeps" fun! I leave early Wednesday, and will probably not be back to my Writing in the Dark post until the following week, though I'm hoping to squeeze in a blog or a tweet or two.

What else? Well, we just got word that the Greek rights to NOX DORMIENDA have been sold, so Roman Noir will be available in Athens and all over the remarkably beautiful country of Hellas.

I'm a bit emotional over the fact that my first foreign rights sales have been Italy and Greece--the foundations of western civilization, the countries and cultures I've spent so much time in, physically and mentally. From my first D'Aulaire's Greek Mythology (checked out of a Tallahassee, Florida library when I was in the second grade), to now seeing my first book published in modern Greek ... it's like an affirmation. Efcharisto!

Friday was photoshoot day ... we need new head shots for CITY OF DRAGONS, so ventured to the sunny side of the Bay and Berkeley, over to Lisa Keating, photographer extraordinaire. Lisa makes you feel immediately comfortable, in a beautiful, airy, naturally lit studio, complete with a black lab named Happy, who makes you feel exactly that.

Despite a TV movie-like mishap--my dry cleaner didn't give me my entire order, and so I arrived in Berkeley without a shirt and had to fight through horrendous 4th of July traffic to get back to San Francisco and then turned immediately around so I could make it back to Berkeley in time--the shoot was a dream, and makeup artist Tricia Turner and Lisa just the best people anyone--particuarly writers with nerves--could ever hope to work with!! I can't wait for the photos ... and yes, I wore one of my fedoras. :)

Today was Sunday Breakfast with Friends time, a wonderful opportunity to see pals and brilliant writers Laura Benedict (who lives in Illinois, so I never see her enough) and Sophie Littlefield (who lives in the Bay Area, but whom I still don't see enough!) We had an old-fashioned breakfast at an old-fashioned restaurant and I only wish I could spend more Sundays doing this ...

So, until next time, thanks for reading Writing in the Dark, thanks for checking out our new grog Criminal Minds, and I will do my best to convey some of the madness, fun, and exultation of Thrillerfest in New York!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For the Love of Chrysler ...

I'm a big believer in serendipity. You know, those chance encounters and opportunities that come your way and (as long as you're not actually starring in a noir) can lead to fabulous fun.

As a writer, I like to let serendipity guide me sometimes, through plot points and character development ... and this weekend, a bit of research fell into my life the same way.

I was in Tiburon Saturday--one of Marin County's most beautiful towns--visiting my brilliant and wonderful agent. And it just so happens that Tiburon was hosting a one day Classic Auto festival at the same time.

Now, I love classic cars--you know, when American cars were truly special, built to last, and featured rumble seats or (a bit later) some truly amazing fin work.
These cars are wonders of engineering, and at the Tiburon show, many were
lovingly restored or sported full ownership histories posted on the window.

An event like this gives me the chance to really develop a feel for a period car model--a tremendous research opportunity for my 1940 series ...

I'm not in Tiburon very often, but last year, when I was writing CITY OF DRAGONS, I happened to stumble in to Tiburon on another warm day. And--you guessed it--they were hosting the very same car show. The odds of me being in Tiburon on the day they host a day-long annual car show--twice, in consecutive years--well, that's just serendipity for you.

Of course, inspiration struck. I'll be starting the sequel to CITY OF DRAGONS very soon, and it was both lucky and wonderful, lighting upon the chance to see

a glorious 1940 Packard Station Wagon (Wood Sides)

Or a 1940 Cadillac Convertible

Or Gertie, a 1939 Chevrolet "Master Deluxe Business Coupe"

Or a 1934 Pontiac

... or even a 1918 Pierce Arrow.

What car was my favorite? Well, I love the rumble seated 1934 Pontiac ...

but I liked the idea of driving this 1967 Jaguar convertible.

In a word ... classic. And serendipitous!! :)

BTW, we launched Criminal Minds, our group blog and virtual panel, last week--and traffic has been brisk! Come by and comment in the month of June, and you could win a $50 Independent Mystery Booksellers Association member gift certificate, a $50 Barnes and Noble, and signed copies of our books! I post on Thursdays.

Back soon, with photos of San Juan Bautista ... and a talk about Vertigo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cover Love

It's been an eventful few days! Ever feel like the days pass too quickly for you to grab--that they blend and weave, and before you know it a week has gone ahead of you? Yup. Just happened to me. Here's why:

Last week, I finished revisions to MALEDICTUS, and the manuscript is now with my wonderful agent. First step on the road to seeing my first series picked up and moving ahead--complete!

I posted my first Noir Bar column for Pop Syndicate ... on Gilda, naturally. Who wouldn't want to launch a project with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford? I'll be writing these columns once a month, and liberally sprinkling Writing in the Dark with a few noir reviews, too.

Thursday was my birthday. According to astrologers, this is a "Solar Return" year--the sun was in the same spot in the sky as it was when I was born (lo, those many years ago!). My mom visited; we took a trip in pilgrimage down to San Juan Bautista and its mission, where Hitchcock filmed Vertigo. I'll post pictures from the trip in a later post on why Jimmy Stewart's character is so creepy.

What else? Ate garlic ice cream in Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World. Yeah, I know it's weird, but what else are you going to do on a warm June day in Gilroy? We ate fresh farm cherries, too, Ranier and Bing, and bought a pack of the largest, freshest and most delicious strawberries I've ever tasted ... organic and locally grown in Watsonville.

These are a few of the reasons I live in California ... the produce can be worth the insanity. ;)

Took a trip to Chinatown, shot some photos for the new website, which is coming very soon. I can't wait!

We launched a grog--that's a group blog, but you already knew that--on Monday. Criminal Minds is a brainchild (actually a dreamchild) of mine, and it's really special to see it come to fruition and so successfully. But with a lineup that includes CJ Lyons, Rebecca Cantrell, Sophie Littlefield, Shane Gericke, Tim Maleeny and Gabriella Herkert, you know it will be fun, fascinating and never a dull moment. :) Check us out--I post on Thursdays (it's the Thursday Child thing).

Today, Becky Cantrell and I were visiting authors over on the fabulous Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club. You can check out the conversation and see how we harass one another. ;)

Last--but not certainly not least--I received my CITY OF DRAGONS cover yesterday ...


It's sublime--haunting--beautiful. Thrilling!! All the things I want my book to be.

David Rotstein is a Senior Art Director at St. Martin's and a design genius. He's nominated three times over for an Anthony this year, and the breadth and depth of his work is amazing. I feel like I've won the Lotto, or beat James Bond at baccarat! Like I made a movie, and got Saul Bass to do the titles. I'm just humbled by this gorgeous, gorgeous work, and dancing the happy dance of cover love. :)

What's next? Preparation for Thrillerfest in NYC, where I'll be a Panel Master with a great team and a great topic: Now What? Keeping Readers Turning the Pages. The panelists are James Scott Bell, Robert Ellis, Heywood Gould, Steven James and Charlie Newton.

Much work ahead on the website. New postcards, new bookmarks. Preparation for a Litquake Fundraiser in San Francisco later in July that's going to be a lot of fun!

And always back to the cover. I stare ... and I smile. Louise Ure, one of the wisest women I know (and a supreme talent in crime fiction), is so right--a cover like this makes you want to get everything color coordinated. Figure on seeing me in some gorgeous browns and warm tones next year, with a splash of red!

Meanwhile ... have a wonderful week, and as always ... thanks for reading! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This is late and will be briefer than normal ... especially for me ... but for all good reasons!
I'm on several deadlines at the moment, leading up to Thrillerfest in New York. I've been running so hard, I'm getting flashbacks of Marathon Man and Logan's Run! (Reminds me ... I've got to make a dentist appointment).

So not much time left over for anything interesting, and I didn't think zzzz made for a good blog post. ;)

I'm also not writing much in the Dark this week because I've been working hard over a grog dream come true! No, silly, not the grog you drink, the grog you band together to save the world with! No, wait, that's the Justice League. Well, a group blog, anyway ... and I literally dreamed of it about a year ago. 

It's a very special grog ... more like a virtual conference panel! Seven crime fiction authors in a variety of subgenres will be answering questions every week about all kinds of things--the writing process, crime, life, etc. We hope YOU will send us in questions you would like to read ruminations about! 

We call it Criminal Minds, and we're launching on June 15th. Next week, you'll be able to read about us and find out just how criminal our minds are. Then the 15th starts the panel rolling, with a new question to follow every week.

We're also giving away prizes for the first month--signed books, gift certificates. So if you're a fan of Writing in the Dark, please stop by!

I'll also be appearing soon at Pop Syndicate, a terrific website about everything pop culture. Pony up to the Noir Bar, my monthly column ... we'll be dishing about--what else? film noir. Gilda, my personal favorite, is what we start with. Over virtual cocktails, too! I'll still post noir reviews at Writing in the Dark when the mood strikes, and Pop Syndicate will give me the chance to wax eloquent in a comfortable speakeasy setting. No such thing as too much noir!

So I'll see you next week ... gotta go finish that marathon! And thanks for reading! :)