Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jeff Shelby is making a few waves

So it's come to my attention that my friend Jeff Shelby has started a new blog.

Of course he could've told me about this, but, well, he didn't. I had to find out about it on Facebook. But regardless of how I found out (and I don't carry grudges . . . for too long, anyway), I have added his blog to my blogroll over there down at the bottom on the right side of this blog. It's called Waves and Words, which might seem a little weird for a guy who's pretty landlocked in Texas. But he writes an amazing series about a surfer named Noah Braddock in San Diego, where Jeff is originally from.

I met Jeff in Chicago at Bouchercon in 2005. It was our first Bouchercon. My first book SACRED COWS wasn't even out yet, but his first book KILLER SWELL was already out. We were on our very first Bouchercon panel together, along with Lori Armstrong and Alison Gaylin and Vicki Lane. I was scared to death. I didn't know a soul, but instantly, Jeff, Alison, Lori and I bonded. Enough so by the end of the conference, about 2 a.m. Saturday, Jeff said, "Why don't we start a blog?"

And the First Offenders were born.

We blogged together religiously until last spring. Until we all agreed that the blog had run its course and we needed to move on. I started this blog not too long afterward. Lori blogs under her alter-ego's name, Lorelei James (she has a thing for sexy cowboys). But Jeff and Alison were blog-less.

Alison's got a new series in the works, and the first book, AND SHE WAS, will be out next March. Jeff, sadly, has been struggling a little in this crazy business we call publishing.

After his second Noah Braddock book, WICKED BREAK, Jeff found himself without a contract as so many of us do (I'm done after INK FLAMINGOS and am not just what my future holds in publishing). But he persevered, because he's a writer. He can't help himself. He wrote another Noah book, he wrote a thriller, and he also wrote one of the funniest cozy mysteries I've ever read.

It's been four years since WICKED BREAK. And I'm so thrilled to say that his third Noah Braddock book, LIQUID SMOKE, is coming out this summer from Tyrus Books! (there's a link on his blog). And that hilarious cozy? STAY AT HOME DEAD will be published by Kensington next winter (under the name Jeffrey Allen, but you can find all that out at his blog, too).

So go check out Waves and Words. In addition to being a great writer, Jeff is hilarious and he will definitely keep you entertained.

Some day we'll get the whole band back together. A reunion tour, perhaps.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Does the rusty scupper parking garage have cameras?

The title of this blog is actually something that someone typed into a search engine and then came up with my website as a result.

The Rusty Scupper used to be a restaurant in New Haven. It didn't have the best food, the service wasn't always that great, but it had a super location: Right on New Haven Harbor. You could sit outside and smell the salt water and fresh air. Seagulls would hang out, hoping you'd throw them a French fry. It was a good place to take people who didn't know New Haven and impress them.

I once took a LAW & ORDER director and producer to the Rusty Scupper for lunch. Out of the blue, I'd gotten a call from the director. He'd somehow gotten his hands on a copy of my first Annie Seymour book, SACRED COWS, and he wanted to talk to me about a possible TV show set in New Haven based on the series. You can't imagine my excitement. The second book wasn't even out yet and someone who was attached to a REAL TV show was interested in my characters. I started thinking that maybe I'd even make some money with this gig.So I took him and a producer to lunch at the Rusty Scupper to impress them.

We had a lovely time. They were really nice. But in the end, the director told me that "no one wants TV shows about a reporter." I'm still not sure why. It seems ripe for possibilities. But I couldn't argue with the powers that be. I'd had a nice lunch. I have a good story to tell.

The Rusty Scupper closed a few years back. Right before my third Annie Seymour book, DEAD OF THE DAY, came out. In that book, Annie goes to the Scupper and has lunch with Vinny. In SECONDHAND SMOKE, the second in the series, Annie gets a sub from Frank & Mary's Deli on Wooster Street. Frank & Mary's Deli closed before the book came out. I started to get a complex about writing about real restaurants in New Haven.

Another restaurant opened in the Rusty Scupper's spot: Leon's. It's an old New Haven restaurant, first located in the Hill section, then on Whitney Avenue in Hamden. I don't think it could help itself by opening in such a great spot. I'm not going to write about it.

Oh, and the question about the Rusty Scupper having cameras in its parking garage? There is no parking garage. It's just a parking lot.

Do you have a favorite restaurant spot?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Is the world of the Internets changing?

I know I've been scarce around these parts in the last couple months. It's not that my life has suddenly gotten all that interesting. Or even all that busy. But I'm in the process of trying to finish up a manuscript and I've got another commitment that does take up quite a bit of time, so blogging sadly has gone by the wayside.

I've also discovered that I'm not reading as many blogs as I used to. I try to check in with my friends' blogs and some of the great book blogs on a regular basis, but rather than checking once a day like in the past, now I'm checking once a week or maybe once every couple of weeks and catching up with all the posts.

I had a discussion about this with a friend, and she said she's doing the same thing these days. Have blogs run their course? Five and a half years ago, when Alison Gaylin, Lori Armstrong, and Jeff Shelby and I began the First Offenders blog, we were the first "group" author blog. Now they're a dime a dozen. There weren't very many book bloggers out there, either. I did read Dooce, and still do — she's made a career out of blogging. But if blogs were to sag in popularity, would that affect her, too?

I find that I get most of my "news" on Facebook these days. People post about themselves, books they're reading, links to news stories and book reviews, book events. Stuff that I might have found on blogs two years ago. But now it's all in one place.

I haven't even updated my website in a while. I've got a book event in June for INK FLAMINGOS at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT, but I have yet to post that on my website. But someone did post the RJ Julia announcement about it on Facebook.

Is the world of the Internets changing? Are we evolving from blogs to Facebook? I do admit, though that I do not understand Twitter. I have an account but rarely ever post anything. It just seems redundant and silly.

What do you think? Granted, there might not be anyone out there these days since I'm not even here all that much myself. So my question might be going out into the wind. But in the odd chance that someone out there is reading this, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Are you reading blogs as frequently or do you find it's lagging, too?