Wow!!! Gretchen made the title recipe "Cinnamon Rolls" and they were yummy. A super crowd of funny and witty "Fans o Hannah" came out to smooze and munch the afternnoon away. Do I really have to go anywhere else today???
Shouting out from Seattle's Mystery Bookshop--best book shop in Seattle! Popped in today to sign my latest great paranormal novel, DARKNESS BOUND, first in the Chimney Rock Series. Coming here is such fun, nothing but mystery experts and mystery readers. Heaven.
DARKNESS BOUND is set on Whidbey Island in Washington State, and introduces The Team, a group of werehounds who have retreated there after fighting as a contract special ops outfit in Afghanistan. The hounds are dying out and can only mate with a group of women of the Deseran strain who have a unique, paranormal universal blood type.
Niles and Leigh are not set for an idyllic romance. A vampire or two (all not to be met when alone on a dark night), a hostile fae community and an evil living sorcerer vampire in need of living human organs to stay alive.
Last night, the Best Animated Short went to a debut film from Moonbot Studios out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Take a moment, settle in with a favorite beverage and enjoy this 15 minute story of a love affair with books.
Fran here with an observation: I think one of the things I love about printed books as opposed to digital ones is that even though the words are the same in both, computer bytes seem to me to be transitory, ephemeral, whereas ink on paper seems more permanent, more solid. Actual physical books are not just works of art, they're friends. I think that's why this film resonates so deeply with me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
My fourth signing at the fabulous Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and my "rain-less" remains alive - for whatever reason the sky stays clear when I'm here - probably some cosmic mojo from the store (because back in Florida, the Daytona 500 is still in a rain delay. ... Other notes: Serge was trippin' on the Space Needle, the Underground, Central Bar and the some of the coolest bridges in the universe. Oh, and Serge can't swing a jai alai cesta without hitting a coffee shop! Can't wait to come back!
A cloudy Saturday afternoon in Seattle (go figure), making it a perfect day to sign copies of my new mystery, Death and the Maiden. My first time at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, it is a pleasure to chat with Adele and Janine and their loyal customers about mysteries and music.
There's something special about being in a mystery book store--to be surrounded by Donna Leon, Walter Moseley, Dick Francis, Agatha Christie, and all the other authors who draw you into their own special worlds with such convincing skill. I'm flattered and honored to have my own books, that take place in the dark recesses of the classical music world, sit alongside these masters. Death and the Maiden, in which each member of an imploding string quartet mysteriously disappears, it the most recent installment of the Daniel Jacobus series. To find out more about it, I welcome you to visit my website at www.geraldelias.com
Award-winning writer Ann Patchett faced off with Stephen Colbert about the benefits of a small independent bookshop vs ordering on-line. She recently opened Parnassus Books in Nashville after the city was left with no open bookshops. It's a fun and sharp exchange.
A little over a week into The Mirage book tour, it was nice to take a break from running around, come sit in the big comfy chair at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, put my feet up, and sip coffee for an hour and a half while the highly trained minions staff brought me books to sign.
Fran Fuller, who I already owe big time for writing me a love letter of a review, hatched a plot to send a copy of The Mirage to Rachel Maddow. If this actually gets me on Rachel’s show I’ll really be in Fran’s debt, and since I don’t have any firstborn children to sacrifice, I guess I’m going to have to figure out a way to plug the bookshop on the air. I’m thinking of an innocuous-looking black T-shirt that under stage lighting suddenly sports the words SEATTLE MYSTERY BOOKSHOPin blood-red letters (JB Dickey, who’s something of a fashion whiz, can probably help me with this).
Gone North--Here I am in Seattle signing GONE WEST, my new Daisy Dalrymple mystery (the 20th) and the paperback edition of Anthem for Doomed Youth, the 19th. As a note in the front of Gone West explains for the benefit of US readers, the title is--besides the obvious meaning--BritSpeak for "died" or "disappeared." Does a pun count as a pun if it has to be explained?
Speaking of BritSpeak, I was very pleased to find the UK editions of many of the Daisy mysteries available at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Anyone who's just discovering the series and wants to go back to the beginning can get the early books from these good people. Wonderful!
(For UK readers, Gone West will come out in a few days, February 16th. You're permitted to skip the note about the double meaning of the title!)
I'd like, while I have this platform, to draw your attention to a video interview: --<http://www.authorsroad.com/CarolaDunn.html> It was done by a couple who, on retiring, bought a mobile home and set off to interview as many authors as they could find. As they started in Portland, Oregon, I was one of the earliest, but in spite of lack of practice, I think they made a very good job of it.
Many thanks to Seattle Mystery Bookshop for inviting me once again.
The 2012 Film Noir Cycle, February 24–March 1, SIFF Cinema at the Uptown Presented by the Film Noir Foundation
Noir City returns with more of the dark and dangerous delights to be discovered in the resurrected rarities that are this festival's stock-in-trade. The inimitable Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller, will once again host this week-long extravaganza of buried film noir treasures rescued from the margins of mid-20th century American cinema.
All films screened on 35mm! Tickets – http://www.siff.net/index.aspx Double Features! $12 | $7 SIFF Members | $11 Youth/Senior (with valid ID) Buy a ticket for the first show and your ticket stub grants you admission to the second. SIFF Passes and vouchers are valid at the box office. Series Pass Available! All films for $60 | $35 SIFF Members
Friday, February 24th
Thieves' Highway – Jules Dassin – 1949 (7:00pm) When war veteran Nick learns that his father, a Central Valley farmer, has been crippled in a trucking accident, he suspects a crooked producer broker. He pools his loot with another wildcat trucker to bring the season’s first load of Golden Delicious apples to San Francisco—and extract revenge.
The House on Telegraph Hill – Robert Wise – 1951 (9:30pm) Concentration camp prisoner Victoria Kowelska longs to escape to America with her comrade Karin, but her dreams seem dashed when Karin dies. Despite a guilty conscious, Victoria assumes Karin’s identity and immigrates to San Francisco to start a new life.
Saturday, February. 25th
Gilda – Charles Vidor – 1946 (2:00pm & 7:00pm) Adrift in Argentina, gambler Johnny Farrell lucks out when he is hired as an aide-de-camp to sinister businessman Ballin Mundson. But his fortunes change when Mundson returns from a trip with a new wife: the spectacularly sexy Gilda—once the love of Johnny’s life.
Laura – Otto Preminger – 1944 ( 4:30pm & 9:30pm) Laura Hunt is dead, murdered. Detective Mark McPherson has a short list of suspects: her mentor, the acerbic columnist; her fiancé; and Laura’s high society aunt. Soon, the cop’s patient probing turns reckless—once he becomes infatuated with the victim.
Sunday, February 26th
The Great Gatsby – Elliott Nugent - 1949 (2:00pm & 7:00pm) This noir-era adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic delves into Gatsby’s gangster roots, merely hinted at in the book. The result is ’40s postwar noir style crossed with the sentimental romance, material excess, and rising disillusionment of Fitzgerald’s Jazz Era elegy.
Three Strangers – Jean Negulesco - 1946 ( 4:30pm & 9:30pm) On the eve of Chinese New Year, Crystal Shackelford finds two desperate strangers to wish with her upon a mysterious Chinese idol. Of course, in the world of noir, granted wishes have a way of going sour…
Monday, February 27th
Okay America – Tay Garnett – 1932 (7:00pm) Clearly based on the legend of radio broadcaster, Walter Winchell, this is a wildly entertaining Pre-Code exposé on the greasy relationship between politicians, organized crime, and the burgeoning American media.
Afraid to Talk – Edward L. Kahn – 1932 (9:30pm) (aka Merry-Go-Round) Bellboy Eddie Martin witnesses mobster Jig Skelli bump off a hated rival and almost gets rubbed out himself. Eddie decides to report the murder to the authorities, only to discover that the district attorney, the assistant DA, and even the mayor are sewed up tight in Skelli’s vest pocket.
Tuesday, February 28th
Unfaithfully Yours - Preston Sturges – 1948 (7:00pm) As noir swept over late ’40s Hollywood, Preston Sturges created the first full-length parody of the style with this mordantly hilarious tale. Maestro Alfred De Carter suspects his wife of infidelity. While conducting a symphony, he imagines different deadly ways of dealing with the situation.
The Good Humor Man – Lloyd Bacon – 1950 (9:30pm) Biff Jones, a driver for the Good Humor ice-cream company, is a simple guy who wants to marry his sweetheart Margie and support her little brother, Johnny. But things go awry when he tries to protect gorgeous Bonnie Conroy from gangsters.
Wednesday, February 29th
House of Bamboo – Samuel Fuller – 1955 (7:00pm) Military investigator Eddie Spanier arrives undercover in Tokyo to infiltrate a cutthroat gang of American ex-GIs. With the help of Mariko, the secret Japanese wife of a murdered American gangster, he earns their ruthless leader's trust—until the truth starts seeping out.
Underworld USA - – Samuel Fuller – 1961 (9:30pm) Young Tolly Devlin is the lone witness when a trio of hoodlums kill his father. As an adult ex-con, Devlin dedicates himself to avenging the murder.
Thurday, March 1st
Naked Alibi – Jerry Hopper – 1954 (7:00pm) An over-zealous police chief hounds a "solid citizen" whom he believes is guilty of being a cop killer, chasing him across the border. Gloria Grahame is torn between the cop and the crook in this cat-and-mouse thriller.
Pickup – Hugo Hass – 1951 (9:30pm) Jan Horak lives a lonely life operating the whistle-stop train station in a small rural town. Everything changes one night when he picks up Betty, a towering taste of teasing female terror.
Afraid to Talk, Eddie Muller, Film Noir, Gilda, Good Humor Man, Great Gatsby, House of Bamboo, Laura, Naked Alibi, Noir, Noir City, Okay America, Pickup, Seattle, SIFF, The House on Telegraph Hill, Thieves' Highway, Three Strangers, Underworld USA, Unfaithfully Yours
I've been asked to shamelessly self-promote here, and as I am at the end of a ten-day book tour and have been stripped of all shame about self-promotion, this I am happy to do. It's been a surreal first week for Defending Jacob. The book has received reviews ranging from favorable to ecstatic to "Holy crap!" It has sold in obscene, miraculous numbers. And I have been flattered and congratulated beyond all reason. For a guy who is used to a comfortable, obscure, mid-list existence, it's been ... well, who am I kidding? It's been fantastic. Thanks to everyone who has given this book such a remarkable reception.
And while I'm at it, thanks to my friends at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, who have supported me with enthusiasm (and dubious taste) for many years now, since Mission Flats. It is a pleasure finnaly to visit the shop (not store, shop, dammit).
Amazon is said to be preparing to open a good 'ol brick-n-mortar storefront. Reports have varied and this may have to do with the rumored nature of the stories. According to the Reuters piece, the idea is to have an Apple-like storefront where people can go in to handle and 'experience' the various proprietary gizmos that Amazon makes and sells. Other versions have it that the storefronts will be to showcase the books that they will be publishing themselves. Other versions have it that the stores will be places to showcase both books and electronic doohickies.
Many things come to mind.
First of all, the entire idea of Amazon was that it would be a system by which people could and would order books from Amazon, Amazon would then order them from a supplier and have them sent directly to the customer. The great genius was supposed to be that this would be a 'warehouse-less' bookstore. No physical inventory, no physical warehouse, no pickers or packers or boxes, tape and packing peanuts. It would be immensley profitable becasue it wouldn't be weighed down by pedestrian things like rent, utility bills and payroll.
That didn't work. Pretty quickly, they were building warehouses.
Now, the store-not-chained-to-a-storefront is going to open a store, here in Seattle, as a test. In theory, anyway. There will be rent and utilities and payroll.
One wonders if they do sell their books in this pleasure palace, will they be discounted at the same rate as the books are on-line? If they are, they'll have to sell a hellovalotta books to pay those bills. They regularly discount the on-line books 40%, selling them at nearly half the cover price. That means they'll have to sell two books to every one at full price to make the same amount of money. If they don't match the discounts offered on-line in order - well, what's the point of going into buy one of the books?
It is already well documented that the Kindle is sold at such a low price that Amazon loses money on the sale of each reader. They're willing to do that to rope buyers in on buying content. No one else can sell the Kindle versions of content. Whatever money they lose in selling a Kindle, they are assured of making it up from you later. It would make sense that they would have a uniform price on their books - on-line or in-store being identical. There is nothing to say yet if they will be making any money on the sale of printed books or if they'll be selling them at a loss as well. Impossible to say what it costs them to print a book and what they do or do not make on the sale of one, even at 40% off cover. Certainly, if they're selling the e-book versions at a lower price than the printed book, you have to assume that they're not making that much on the sale of a physical book - if they're willing to undercut themselves by selling the e-version more cheaply, they can't be that worried about not selling many printed books, right?
But then with a physical bookstore, they may not care about making a profit. If they're openly willing to lose money on selling you a Kindle, they may equally be willing to lose money on a physical space just as an experiment. Why not - it's a tax write-off, isn't it?
But to a company sitting on a reported pile of $9 billion, why not just buy the building outright and do away with the issue of rent. While we're at it - just buy the block, or the city?
Incidentally, you can buy a Reuters app for your Kindle... just $9.99 at Amazon.com.