Saturday, August 30, 2008

A first novel by the son of John Le Carré

Nicholas Cornwell, son of the Le John Le Carré, has written his first novel under the pen name of Nicholas Harkaway. The book, "The Gone-Away World", has lots of danger & adventure, but no spies. Nick talks with Cynthia Crossen about the book, how he picked the title and what it's like to have your parents read your work, especially when one of them is a world famous author of spy thrillers.

Read the interview here:

You can also read an excerpt, here:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Books Still Have it to Stir our Emotions

According to a new study, "Books are just as powerful as movies when it comes to their potential to prod our brains into such reactions as delight, pain or disgust...".

For those of us who are writers, this is is great news...books can still compete with movies when it comes to touching us in a deep and meaningful way.

This from a posting on a science news blog! I would have expected something like this to come from Psychology Today. You can read the story here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Konrath's "Fuzzy Navel" is a Juicy Winner (Drink Responsibly)

Dirty Martini was my introduction to the writing of JA Konrath, and after I put down that book, I thought to myself, "Wow. That was a great story. But I don't think he'll ever top the chaos I just witnessed."

I was wrong.

Konrath's latest thriller takes fear and humor to a new level when he packs mayhem and murder into eight action-packed, laugh-out-loud hours. The opening chapter fakes right and then surprises you with a left hook. From there, it's all downhill (or uphill, depending on your point of view). The next few pages demonstrate a couple of acts of vigilante justice that will have you secretly wishing you could take the law into your own hands from time to time, and it's fun to watch. But then things turn nasty. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels, the protaganist, witnesses several of her colleagues bite the dust. The action ramps up when she heads home to find her arch enemy, Alex Kork, has escaped from prison and has made herself at home, along with Jack's mom & fiancee. With a gun pointed at her loved ones, Jack is forced to entice Harry McGlade and Phin to join her. The ultimate aim is to force Jack to watch her friends and loved ones die...the ultimate revenge for a woman that Harry lovingly described as "Frankenbitch".

But that's not the only problem Jack faces. It seems a trio of paramilitary wannabes have decided that Jack's got to go, and they soon join the party, surrounding her home and cutting the occupants off from the outside world with some high tech jamming devices and a old fashioned pair of wire cutters.

And you think your job is tough?

This book is a real page-turner, so I recommend you buy it on a Friday. Once you start reading, you won't want to stop, so your Saturday and Sunday will be spoken for. Unplug the TV and the phone...on second thought, after reading this, you'll probably be clutching the cordless with both hands.

The best part of this latest Jack Daniels' tale is the shocking surprise ending, a cliffhanger which will leave you (figuratively) dying for more. There's quite a few twists and turns in this one, but I've managed to figure out what really happens in the end.

If you want to know yourself, you can buy the next Konrath novel, Cherry Bomb, which is due out in 2009. Or you can bribe me to learn the truth. Send me an email, and I'll send you my address. I'll reveal all for one million, make that two million dollars. One million for me and one million for the out-of-court settlement when Konrath sues me.

At any rate, pick up a copy of Fuzzy Navel. And take a big swig. You'll be glad you did.

Best line?
Jack Daniels, "I think my work followed me home."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How To Get Boys To Read - Gross 'Em Out!

The problem of how to get boys to read more has never been a big secret. We've just forgotten our target audience. What boys like is adventure, thrills...and lots of gross detail in the killing, as the Wall Street Journal reminds in Friday's article. Some of the favorite topics include Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian prince who was the real life inspiration for the story of Count Dracula.

Check out the link here, but don't read while eating: