This week in Shinobi news: My first guest post at The Criminal Element is live! I’m talking about Kunoichi, the female ninja spies of medieval Japan – please stop by and say hello! We’re getting close to the July 16 release date for Claws of the Cat! I’ve got some exciting giveaways and events planned for later in the month. The official book launch will take place at FACE IN A BOOK bookstore in El Dorado Hills on Thursday, July 18: El Dorado Hills, CA: Thursday, July 18, 2013: 6:30pm Launch Event: Face in a Book Bookstore 4359 Town CenterRead more
Month: June 2013
Kaishakunin – the Seppuku “Wingman”
Seppuku is a form of ritual suicide practiced in Japan for hundreds of years. Many Westerners recognize the ritual, in which a person (often but not always male) slits his own stomach with a sword, thereby disemboweling himself and causing his own death. Seppuku has a long and complex history in Japan, and many associated rituals, among them the use of a second, the kaishakunin, whose primary role is easing the suffering and speeding the death of the person committing seppuku. The kaishakunin stands behind and to the left of the person committing seppuku (as shown in the staged photoRead more
Elevator Pitch, Part 3: TRUST THE SILENCE
Welcome to Wednesday’s post! Today, we’re finishing up this summer’s Elevator Pitch series with a look at another critical element of a winning pitch: Trusting the Force Silence. In the original STAR WARS (Episode 4: A New Hope, for the Star Wars geeks among us), Obi-Wan Kenobi teaches a young Luke Skywalker how to use a lightsaber, the traditional jedi weapon. When Luke has trouble defending himself against a floating practice probe (aka, “the evil baseball of doom”), Obi-Wan suggests Luke lower the blast shield on his helmet, depriving himself of sight. “Your eyes deceive you,” Obi-Wan says when LukeRead more
An Interview with Annamaria Alfieri
Today I’m honored to welcome Annamaria Alfieri, author of BLOOD TANGO (Minotaur Books, June 25, 2013), a fabulous new mystery that I loved and absolutely recommend! Annamaria Alfieri is the author of Blood Tango, which takes place in Buenos Aires in 1945 and imagines the murder of an Evita Perón lookalike. Kirkus Reviews said of her Invisible Country, “Alfieri has written an anti-war mystery that compares with the notable novels of Charles Todd.” Deadly Pleasures Magazine called her City of Silver one of the best first novels of the year. The Washington Post said, “As both history and mystery, CityRead more
A Conferencing Repost: HNS 2011 (from HNS 2013)
**This is a re-post, because I’m currently in Florida speaking at the 2013 Historical Novel Society Conference (The one I mention…IN THIS POST. Imagine that.) Enjoy, and I’ll be back for reals next week!** Have you ever attended a writers’ conference? You should. Ancient tribal societies organized gatherings, a chance for allied tribes to meet, share news, and celebrate tribal events. Writers’ conferences are analogues to tribal bonfires, a time when modern skalds and readers gather to meet and learn from one another. I went to the Historical Novel Society’s 2011 conference as a lone-wolf historical novelist, and left aRead more
A Conferencing We Go….A Conferencing We Go….
Hi-ho-a-derry-o, a Conferencing we go! This morning I’m en route to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Historical Novel Society Conference. On Saturday morning, I’ll be speaking on a panel called “Four Xs–and a Y–Mark the Spot: the Hidden Treasures of Historical Mystery” along with Annamaria Alfieri, Anne Perry, Frederick Ramsay, and Judith Rock. I’m moderating the panel as well as participating on it, and it’s going to be a tremendous hour. I can’t wait! I’m also excited to go because most of my fabulous critique group, which functions in a virtual environment most of the time, will be attending the conference.Read more
Elevator Pitches: If You Build it, They Will Come.
Last week’s Wednesday post took a look at the four elements that build a winning elevator pitch. This week? We’re mushing them together and creating the perfect lasagne er, pitch. (Perfect lasagne has four elements too, but that’s a different post.) To recap, the elements you’re looking for are your novel’s protagonist, active antagonist, stakes, and high concept. And remember: the high concept might or might not make it into your pitch, but you need to keep it in mind. I’ll continue using my novel Claws of the Cat, as an example, primarily because the pitch worked exactly as intended–it foundRead more
An Interview with Piper Bayard!
Please welcome Piper Bayard, author of the new release FIRELANDS (Stonehouse Ink, June 2013), a fantastic dystopian thriller: Piper Bayard is a belly dancer from way back and a recovering attorney with a university degree or two. She currently pens post-apocalyptic sci-fi and spy novels with Intelligence Operative Holmes when she isn’t shooting, blogging, dancing, or chauffeuring her children. Piper blogs at Bayard & Holmes. You may contact her at their site, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Piper Bayard, or by email at BH[at]bayardandholmes.com. Sign up at Bayard & Holmes Newsletter to receive infrequent newsletters and notices of book releases. She and Holmes willRead more
Talk like a shinobi … and I will too!
I’m delighted to be speaking at the Historical Novel Society Conference June 21-23 in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of a panel called, “Four Xs–and a Y–Mark the Spot: Exploring the Hidden Treasures of Historical Mystery.” Here’s a little more about it: Historical settings offer a vibrant backdrop for mysteries. Learn how the proper setting becomes a character in itself, pick up hints for selecting your sleuth, and investigate the intriguing details … all without losing the action—or your readers—in the process. Join mystery authors Annamaria Alfieri, (http://www.annamariaalfieri.com/), Anne Perry (http://www.anneperry.co.uk/), Frederick Ramsay (http://frederickramsay.com/), Judith Rock (http://www.judithrock.com), and Susan Spann (http://www.susanspann.com)Read more
Grand Slam! How to Write a Winning Pitch
As promised, today’s post takes a look at how to write an effective pitch for your manuscript. There are many good ways to do this, and many ways to intrigue an editor, agent, or reader, so I do not claim thisway is the only one. It is, however, the one I used–effectively–when pitching my Shinobi mystery series, and the one I teach when working with other writers. Again, to be clear: I do not claim this is the only way to success. It’s simply the one I’m teaching. A winning pitch – regardless of how it’s written – does one thing:Read more