Friday, July 16, 2010

The Shack controversy continues

The ShackWhat's all the brouhaha going on about The Shack? William P. Young's bestselling novel is the story of a father who is struggling to recover his faith after a horrible tragedy. But now the book is spinning off its own--not tragedy, let's call it soap opera--in the publishing world. Sarah Weinman of the LA Times recently weighed in on the publishing imbroglio.

A bit of background: Reportedly, The Shack  was a manuscript that made the rounds without being picked up; eventually, it was discovered by a couple of pastors who formed a start-up called Windblown Media, which then published the book.  The Shack became wildly successful, rising to the top of a NYT bestseller's list. Then a traditional publisher stepped in, and the book's success continued. But now the original players are feuding over royalties, including, reportedly, even the book's authorship.

Where this will all end up, God only knows. But one thing is clear: When big-time royalties are at stake, a book--even one about faith--may occasionally stub its toe on the bottom line.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

EUROSTORM: Author Payne Harrison launches a killer new techno thriller

Oh, goodie. Oh, joy! I'm so happy when an author returns from a long absence with a knockout thriller to show for his time spent wandering in the writing wilderness. Payne Harrison’s new work, Eurostorm, is his first book in 13 years, and it's a first-rate techno thriller. 

First line from the Prologue:

"A galaxy of crystalline stars peppered the desert night as a Bedouin tribesman named Abu Nadir plodded along the sandy path, taking the lead in front of a recalcitrant pair of camels."

This book is every bit as good as Harrison's previous book Storming Intrepid, which was a New York Times Bestseller. His earlier stories are Cold War classics that helped invent the modern techno-thriller genre.

With EUROSTORM, he knocks his story out of the park again – this time aboard a bullet train as it races under the English Channel from London to Paris. Sealed within the vault of a fortified security car is a highly classified, lethal substance. But, oops--when the train exits the tunnel heading toward Paris, Scotland Yard learns too late that an evil force has risen--literally, from the grave--to jack a cargo that could alter the world as we know it.

Harrison described some of the back story for his new novel in a Q&A over at his web site.It's a fascinating look into how a writer gets the "boys in the back room" working to create a story.

You've gotta get your hands on this one!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Goofy stuff for writers: "I Heart Writing" bumper sticker & other toys

Found a few little discoveries and toys for writers, especially those of us in need of a little inspiration:

This bumper sticker will let people know you're a writer, dammit--not just a soccer mom.

I Love Heart WRITING - Window Bumper Sticker

Mugs can keep people away until you've had your second cup.

WARNING BEWARE OF THE WRITER Mug for Coffee / Hot Beverage 11 oz. BLUE

The right cup can inspire trust--and maybe that extension-- from your editor.

16 oz. Double Wall Insulated Tumbler with trust me, i'm a writer - Paper Insert
A creative block can (literally) help you break through yours.
Creative Block

Maybe you could use a wall chart to remind you about the writing basics.


But if all else fails, keep reminding yourself that you still write better than your cat.


Monday, July 5, 2010

NO MERCY free ebook on Kindle today

No Mercy[Update: Oops, too late! The Kindle price of No Mercy has gone to $3.99. Still a great deal, though! Stay tuned to this blog for more Kindle bargains.]

Bestselling author John Gilstrap's thriller No Mercy is currently being sold in the Kindle edition for $0.00. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your laptop or other device.

First line:
"The fullness of the moon made it all more complicated."


"In the tradition of Lee Child and Stephen Hunter, New York Times best selling author John Gilstrap delivers a page-turning, action-packed thriller filled with "rocket-paced suspense." - (Jeffery Deaver)"

"...this fast-paced tale of violence and revenge is all about plot, of which there is plenty." - Publishers Weekly

Get this one while it lasts!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Review: Ice Cold, a horror thriller by Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold: A Rizzoli & Isles NovelFirst line:

"She was the chosen one."

Tess Gerritsen Ice Cold: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel, opens with a shocker--the charred body of Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles has been discovered in a mountain ravine.  As her friend Jane Rizzoli, a Boston homicide detective, digs into her friend's apparent murder, she discovers  a buried horror at a place called Kingdom Come, a mysteriously isolated town where a silent watcher waits. It's the place where Maura was last seen alive. 

With Rizzoli & Isles about to make its nation-wide debut on TNT, is it possible that Gerritsen has actually killed off one of her main characters? I'm not about to spoil the suspense. You'll have to read the book to find out. But trust me, this book is a roller-coaster suspense ride with enough shocks and thrills to keep you awake underneath your beach umbrella.

Here's a peek at the book video  for Ice Cold, followed by a TNT promo for  Rizzoli & Isles, which debuts July 12.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A waste of a good premise: Your Heart Belongs to Me

Your Heart Belongs to Me: A NovelFirst line:

"Ryan Perry did not know that something in him was broken."

I really, really wanted to love this book. Normally I'm a huge fan of Dean Koontz's work. But this book, Your Heart Belongs to Me: A Novel, loses its way from the very page.

The story has a torn-from-the-headlines subplot (the "bad guy" is the avenging sister of a Chinese political prisoner whose heart was harvested and sold on the black market by the Communist Chinese government); it could have been extremely compelling. But the story is hampered by the lack of appeal of the protagonist, Ryan Perry, a self-centered--and completely uninteresting--software tycoon. After suffering from a heart attack, Ryan becomes impatient with the length of the wait for organ transplants; he opts to pay mondo bucks to receive  a new heart on the black market. It turns out that his heart "donor" was Lily, a beautiful young Chinese political prisoner. She was a member of the Falun Gong movement, executed by the Chinese government. By the time Lily's sister comes along and tries to impale Ryan with a lancet-laced bouquet of lilies, I was rooting for him to die. He's that insufferable. 

This story could have been a taut, medical/political thriller in the tradition of Robin Cook. Imagine a secret cell composed of the relatives of executed political prisoners, all working together to exact revenge for the harvested organs of their loved ones--by killing the flabby. narcissistic organ recipients. It coulda been a great story. It coulda been a contender.

Instead, we're left with a muddled mess. The story's problems are compounded by the addition of typical Dean Koontz ghost-story elements, which only serve to make a confusing story incomprehensible.

Dean Koontz is a talented writer, but honestly, he must have phoned this one in. If you've read it, do you agree?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't miss Thrillerfest--coming up next week!

Don't forget the big event next week (July 7-10) in NYC--the 5th annual Thrillerfest., which is sponsored by International Thriller Writers (ITW). Thrillerfest has been described as "a summer camp for thriller readers and fans."

First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller AuthorsOne special treat this year is the publication of an ITW anthology,
First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authorswhich includes original stories by New York Times bestselling authors such as Lee Child, Stephen Coonts, Jeffrey Deaver, and Heather Graham. Check out this video promo from last year's con!