BookFace Friday!

I’m currently in New Orleans for Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) and having a great time creating #BookfaceFriday images with the fantastic cover of The Ninja’s Daughter. And one from fellow Seventh Street Books author James W. Ziskin, author of the fantastic Ellie Stone novels… Tune in later this afternoon (and over the weekend) because I’ll be posting more bookface photos as I gather them at the conference!

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Avoiding Common Freelance Writing Scams*

Scammers and the unscrupulous flourish where dreams and business intersect, and writing is no exception. Many authors take on freelance writing opportunities to supplement longer-format writing. Here are some tips for avoiding some of the common writing-related scams and “opportunities” that cost you more than they benefit: 1. When freelancing or writing for third-party publications, always get a written contract BEFORE you write the piece. Many times, writers agree to work “on a handshake,” only to discover that the deal terms were not what they expected. Make sure you understand the terms, and have a written agreement (preferably a real

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The Dry Waterfall at Kyoto’s Tenryu-ji

During my recent trip to Japan, I visited Tenryuji, a Zen temple and monastery in the mountains northwest of Kyoto. The temple is famous not only for the “heavenly dragon” (Tenryu) painted on the ceiling of its worship hall, but also for its lovely botanical gardens and Zen landscape. The primary garden at Tenryuji was designed by Muso Soseki (1275-1351, also called Muso Kokushi), a follower of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. His major contributions to Zen garden design and landscaping include the “dry waterfall”–a stone arrangement designed to mimic the appearance of water without the use of any actual water

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Creating a Sleuth Your Readers Will Love

Sherlock Holmes. Jane Marple. Jack Reacher. Three famous names with something important in common … aside from the fact that each solves crimes in mystery or thriller novels. What is this common element? Readers love them. The key to writing successful mysteries and thrillers doesn’t lie in careful plotting, clever crimes, or sneaky suspects. The heart of these stories beats in the chest of the sleuth. Everyone enjoys a puzzle, and a tightly-woven plot is important, but readers return to a mystery (or thriller) series because they want to spend more time with a favorite hero(ine). Solving the puzzle is much

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Understanding “Chibi” With Hiro & Father Mateo

As used in anime and manga culture, “chibi” (ちび / チビ) refers to overly-cute or child-like drawings of characters from anime, manga, or other areas of popular culture.  Chibi are often characterized by oversized heads, childlike features, and larger-than-normal eyes (though the latter is often true of anime styles generally, and is not unique to chibi). Hiro’s partner in crime-solving, Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo Ávila de Santos, is slightly older than Hiro, but looks similarly young in chibi form:

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Negotiate Like a Pro (Part 3): The Negotiation

Welcome back to the negotiation mini-series! Last week we took a look at how to create a pre-negotiation plan. To re-cap: — Read the contract; make a list of points you’d like to change. — Prioritize your list into deal breakers, important points, and “things to ask for.” — Consider the publisher’s potential responses to your requests. — Adjust your list, and strategy, to address potential publisher concerns. Now, let’s look at tips for increasing your chances of success in an actual publishing contract negotiation*: Publishers, like flies, prefer honey to vinegar: Be Polite. No matter how the negotiation opens, proceeds, or finishes,

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Enterprise Bridge Panels – Up Close and Personal

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I visited the Star Trek exhibit at Seattle’s EMP (Experience Music Project) museum over the weekend – and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the more interesting exhibits I didn’t cover in yesterday’s post was a set of original bridge panels from the original (1960’s) Star Trek TV series. One thing that really stood out to me, seeing them in person: the set creators didn’t even bother to glue the pieces in a way that avoided smearing, or to keep the glue from showing on the finished pieces. TV cameras filmed with low enough resolution and detail

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Boldly Going … To Star Trek at Seattle EMP

While in Seattle for a book signing over the weekend, I spent some time with a very good friend, during which we visited the Seattle EMP Museum and toured the special Star Trek exhibit currently on display. As a long-time Star Trek AND Star Wars geek.  I enjoyed the exhibit thoroughly, and strongly recommend a visit if you’re in or near the Seattle area. For those who can’t make it in person, I thought I’d share some of the highlights on the blog this week. Even the stairs leading to the exhibit continue the theme: With mannequins wearing costumes originally worn by DeForest Kelley:

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Friday & Saturday NINJA’S DAUGHTER Events!

TODAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 (6:30pm): EL DORADO HILLS (SACRAMENTO) CALIFORNIA If you’re in the Sacramento area, I hope you’ll join me tonight (Friday, August 26) at 6:30pm at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills (4359 Town Center Boulevard: more information here!) for a reading and signing of my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, The Ninja’s Daughter!  I’m bringing some special Japanese treats to share, and a katana for a special weapons demonstration. I hope to see you there! TOMORROW – SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 (12pm): SEATTLE, WASHINGTON On Saturday at 12pm, I’ll be at Seattle Mystery Bookshop (117 Cherry Street, Seattle-more information here!) for a

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