Friday, February 27, 2009

Gerry Conway back at DC Comics

After leaving the world of comics behind in the 1990's for a career in Hollywood writing for the likes of "Diagnosis: Murder" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," Gerry Conway is back visiting his old stomping grounds:
Animal Man R.I.P.? Gerry Conway Talks (Comic Book Resources)

I have fond childhood memories of Conway-written comics. In the '70s and '80s, he shaped the adventures of many popular characters, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Tarzan, Fantastic Four, Justice League of America, The Avengers, Swamp Thing, and Firestorm. (Not to mention writing the groundbreaking crossover Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man!)

Related links:
Crime writers on PUNISHER
Crime writers who also write comics
Adapting Richard Stark's PARKER

We gotta update StudioWell

With every day that passes, our beloved StudioWell.com just becomes further and further outdated. In fact, we haven't been able to update the site since early 2008, right around the time I got laid off.

Then our computer broke, and after some time were finally able to get a new one ... only to discover that the Yahoo web software doesn't work on Macs. So we saved up (again) and a couple weeks ago got a new PC ... and discovered AOL* does not work on Vista. (!)

But, God willing, we'll get DSL or cable in the next few weeks so we can update the site again. (With the new comic strip, it's become more vital than ever.)

*(Please do not mock me for still being on dial-up. I get enough of that from my agent.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mystery scholarship

Mystery Writers of America is awarding $500 scholarships for aspiring writers to attend conferences and short-term writing programs. And not just for MWA members:

2009 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing
MORE INFORMATION
APPLICATION FORM

The deadline is Feb. 28, so don't delay!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BEST MANN 1.2: "Just look at that badge!"

Now online is the second installment of our new crime/mystery series Best Mann For The Job. Updated weekly at TitleTrakk.com, this serial stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of the small town of Hope Falls, Tennessee. Even as Grace is sworn in to her new job, the deputies are grumbling ...

Direct link: http://www.titletrakk.com/index.htm#bestmann

Related links:
Preview #1: Sheriff Grace Mann
Preview #2: Deputy Todd Baxter
Preview #3: Rev. Hezekiah Mann
Preview #4: Elizabeth Mann

Monday, February 23, 2009

Congrats to CJ on her book deal!

Big congratulations to our friend CJ Darlington, the big winner this weekend at the Christian Writer's Guild Writing For the Soul conference. Her unpublished novel Thicker Than Blood took first prize in CWG's Operation First Novel 2008, netting her $20,000 and a contract with Tyndale House Publishers!

It could not have happened to a more deserving person -- CJ has always been such a big supporter of Erica's and my work. In fact, TitleTrakk, which CJ founded with her sister, recently started hosting Erica's and my new crime/mystery series, Best Mann For The Job.

We wish CJ all the best in her new career as a novelist! Send her your best wishes at her profiles on Facebook or Shoutlife.

P.S. -- Thanks to Diane Viere for posting conference photos on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Facebook problem

Following a public outcry, Facebook is rethinking their terms of service (again). However, this is simply a good time to remember that any time you post online -- on a blog, on a website, on a social network -- you are sharing that content with the host site, and that comes with some amount of risk. So don't post anything that you don't want to be out on the Internet forever.

Yesterday on NPR's All Things Considered, a specialist in information law and data privacy said that the updated terms were not a "revolutionary" change so much as a "legal" change: "I think what this change did was draw attention to a reality about information on Facebook that has already been true on Facebook and lots of other sites -- and that's just something users don't think about," said William McGeveran, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. "So the backlash is about the normal state of affairs, not some new change."

Nonetheless, Facebook has responded to the hullabaloo by going back to the old terms:
Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
Links:
BBC NEWS | Technology | Facebook 'withdraws' data changes
Facebook Users Angry Over Change In Legal Terms (NPR)
Facebook's New Terms Of Service: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever." (Consumerist)

Monday, February 16, 2009

BEST MANN 1.1: "You were robbed."

This week kicks off the first story in Erica's and my new crime/mystery series Best Mann For The Job. Hosted online by TitleTrakk.com, this comic strip serial stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of the small town of Hope Falls, Tennessee. Even as Grace is sworn in to her new job, the deputies are grumbling -- but when a pair of desperate criminals drive into town and take a local family hostage, she has to step up and prove herself ...

Updated weekly at TitleTrakk.com.
Direct link: http://www.titletrakk.com/index.htm#bestmann

Previously on BEST MANN FOR THE JOB:
Preview #1: Sheriff Grace Mann
Preview #2: Deputy Todd Baxter
Preview #3: Rev. Hezekiah Mann
Preview #4: Elizabeth Mann

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BEST MANN #4: Elizabeth Mann

TitleTrakk.com has now posted the final preview for the new serial Best Mann For The Job. This week we meet Elizabeth Mann -- Grace's mom, and librarian at the local library.

Best Mann For The Job, the new comic created by my wife and I, stars Grace Mann -- the new sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. As Grace grows into her new job, she'll soon be caught up in all the weird crime, small-town politics, and church conflicts you can find in a one-horse town. (You'd be surprised.)

Updated weekly at TitleTrakk.com.
Direct link here: http://www.titletrakk.com/index.htm#bestmann


Related:
Best Mann For The Job
BEST MANN #2: Deputy Todd Baxter
BEST MANN #3: Rev. Hezekiah Mann

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The new Kindle

Amazon has unveiled their spiffy new Amazon Kindle 2, "the next generation wireless reading device." My author friends give it mixed reviews, but say the pro's of the new model more or less outweigh the con's.

Per Amazon:
With a sleek and thin design that makes Kindle 2 as thin as a typical magazine and lighter than a paperpack, the new Kindle has seven times more storage and now holds over 1,500 books. It has a longer battery life and faster page turns. An advanced display provides even crisper images and clearer text for an improved book-like reading experience. And Kindle 2 even reads to you, with “Read to Me”, our new Text to Speech feature.

With Kindle 2 we kept everything readers love about the original Kindle—the convenience of reading what you want, when you want it, the immediacy of getting a book wirelessly delivered in less than 60 seconds, and Kindle’s ability to “disappear” in your hands so you can get lost in the author’s words. We’re also excited to announce that the Kindle Store has over 230,000 ebooks available.
Kindle 2 is available for pre-order for $359 and will ship later this month. They also have a wide variety of Kindle accessories available.

Crazy enough to write

While my agent and his wife continue their much-needed vacation, Sandra Bishop (the other agent at MacGregor Literary) jumps on his blog to answer the question, "Is it really possible to set out to write a breakout novel? Don't breakouts just happen because a publisher decides to get behind a book and doggedly promote it until it gets noticed?"

Sandra says: "If you're crazy enough to try, go for it. Seriously. Publishing is a crazy business in which to try and make a living. But if you're willing, and have talent, and the energy to keep after it without losing your marbles, more power to you. Lots of people talk about and work at writing, but never really get down to honing the craft."

Read her entire blog post here.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sir John Mortimer (1923–2009)

This past January 16, the creator of one of mystery fiction's most popular series passed away: John Mortimer (i.e., Sir John Clifford Mortimer, CBE, QC) was an English barrister, dramatist, screenwriter, author -- and creator of "Rumpole of the Bailey," starring Horace Rumpole, a Barrister at the Old Bailey in London.

Links:
John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey (Cozy Mystery List)
John Mortimer, Barrister and Writer Who Created Rumpole, Dies at 85 (NY Times)

Friday, February 06, 2009

BEST MANN #3: Rev. Hezekiah Mann

TitleTrakk.com has now posted the third (of four) previews for the new serial Best Mann For The Job. This week we meet Rev. Hezekiah Mann -- Grace's dad, and pastor at the local church.

Written by me with art by my lovely wife, Erica, Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, the new sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. As Grace grows into her new job, she'll soon be caught up in all the weird crime, small-town politics, and church conflicts you can find in a one-horse town. (You'd be surprised.)

Updated weekly at TitleTrakk.com.
Direct link here: http://www.titletrakk.com/index.htm#bestmann



Related:
Best Mann For The Job
BEST MANN #2: Deputy Todd Baxter

Monday, February 02, 2009

You decide!

This item from C.J. Darlington:

Cast Your Vote On How Randy Singer Ends The Justice Game

Coming in July 2009 from Tyndale House is Randy Singer's next legal thriller, The Justice Game. Not only does it have a very cool cover, but Randy's doing something unique with this book---he's letting YOU decide the ending. That's right. Up on his website is a video he made showing us the closing arguments of the two opposing lawyers. Both make sense. But only one can win. Randy's going to end the book with whatever side we choose. I've cast my vote. Now it's your turn.


Watch the video below or click here to watch. Then visit Randy's website to cast your vote.


Read C.J.'s interview with Randy Singer.
Read her review of By Reason of Insanity.

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.