Friday, January 30, 2009

Name that Novel!

Monti Sikes and I are debating titles for her latest novel in the Passenger to Paradise series. Here's a blurb:

Everything changes for Kyle Warren the day his friend, NPR reporter Katherine Burdette, is thrown overboard from a ferry boat. Now Kyle is in Trinidad in pursuit of the international criminal he and Katherine were investigating. Because he left her on the boat to respond to an urgent message, Kyle holds the burden of guilt for Katherine’s death.

Lily Henri comes to Trinidad looking for change in her life and a jumpstart to a new career as a photojournalist. Since the sudden death of her parents, Lily has not been the same. Long-time friends no longer interest her, and she has developed an extreme dislike for her boyfriend.

When Lily arrives in the airport terminal, Kyle sees Lily and is stunned because she looks so much like Katherine. He speaks to her and gives her his business card. A harrowing car ride delivers Lily to the Sundower Sands Resort where she discovers Kyle is the manager.

Over the next few days, Lily and Kyle are thrown together in a number of dangerous adventures involving gunrunning and international crime. Because she is a look-alike for Katherine, Kyle knows Lily is in grave danger. All the while Lily has uncanny memories of having known Kyle in the past, and feelings of kinship with Katherine take hold.

Is Lily a “walk-in”?


We're thinking "Stranger in My Heart"


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Exciting Times, for Me Anyway

The debut of No Sanctuary is coming closer and closer.

It's sort of like being close to the due date of the birth of your next child!

Time to plan my book launch--though I've had the place selected for quite awhile--the fellowship hall of our church. A couple of reasons for the location, the book is about two churches--and the room is big and the church has a nice parking lot. (Guess that's three reasons.)

Whenever I have a new book coming out I go searching for a place in our little town to hold the launch. I've had them outside a coffee shop (summertime so it worked), a recreation center combined with a buffet lunch and belly dancing, the back room of an antique store, upstairs room of the Springville Inn.

Of course it's necessary to get some good publicity. Once I get a copy of the book I'll give one to the editor our our bi-monthly newspaper and she'll write a review and report on the launch. I'll also make posters: one for the church and another for the post office and the beauty shop. I'll send emails out too.

The bigger newspaper in the next town will post a notice of what's going on around town and I'll get a note in there too.

I plan to serve food, which is always a good draw.

Can anyone tell I'm getting excited! You can read a bit about the series and the characters on the Rocky Bluff P.D. blog.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sad News...John Updike Has Died

I just surfed over to the Huffingtonpost for my lunch-break news fix, and was stunned to see that John Updike has died.

Updike is definitely on my list of favorite authors...loved all the Rabbit books but my hands-down favorite is "S".

Here's the link for any who want to read the details... John Updike

Saturday, January 24, 2009

OTP Board of Directors

A few days ago, Karen Syed's post was called WALL OF GRATITUDE and it recognized people important and valuable to her life, her business. This got me to thinking about my own list, my de facto Board of Directors.

In no particular order, here are some of the members of my Board:

Sunny Frazier, author of numerous short fictions, articles and her e-zine The Murder Circle plus her upcoming OTP novel WHERE ANGELS FEAR. Sunny is also the creator of Guerilla Marketing, a take-no-prisoners, shake-up-the-joint approach to getting attention for authors and their work. Trust me, we are going to be hearing a lot more from Sunny!

Patricia Sheehy author of two novels and a beautiful gift book, has a third novel in progress. Patricia is our in-house expert on all things Amazon, a frequent muse for me as well as "first reader" on many blurbs and pieces I write. Patricia's marketing skills are top-notch also and she is a sought-after speaker, especially in her home territory of Connecticut.

Deb Collett , a whirlwind of skills and talents, most notably her poetry. OTP published her second volume last fall SPANGLED STAR BANTER and Deb proved that publishing poetry CAN be done profitably, if you just put yourself behind it. Deb is an amazing planner, promoter and performer, plus she is located near Peoria, a scant two hour drive from me and a mere pittance of a ride when I am desperate to hang out with a fellow "bookie."

Monti Sikes, another multi-talented lady, and a storehouse of romance genre knowledge. She and her husband Olen founded the VA chapter of RWA. Monti is also an accomplished artist and photographer and her work has been used on numerous OTP covers, not just her own titles.

Marilyn Meredith has an impressive list of writing credits, and currently authors two series, one with OTP. Her characters are well-fleshed-out, which is most likely the reason why her workshop on character development is so sought after. Marilyn's never hesitates to share her wisdom, sage advice and inspiration. Plus, I know that no matter how much ground I cover, she's covered at least an acre more.

In addition, there are a couple of people outside OTP who definitely have seats at my Board Room table.

One is Karen Syed, of Echelon Press, mentioned earlier. I don't really know Karen, except for the blogs. I did track her down at Chicago's Printer's Row book fair a couple of years ago, and introduced myself. Beyond being a savvy publisher, Karen is also a writer and a superior blogger, a fulsome blogger. Her posts, though always with the subtext of promoting her titles, are, by turns, rich with atmosphere, thought-provoking, funny, soulful and always spot on. It's a rare day that I miss reading her blog.

The last lady in today's mention is Sara Davidson, author of LOOSE CHANGE Three Women of the Sixties, one of my all time favorite books. Sara has a loooong writer's pedigree including TV scripts (Dr. Quinn) and other books, most recently LEAP! which is a kind of guide book for life changes. She too can touch a heart-chord with her writing. I am convinced her grocery list could prompt emotion. Years ago, when both I and Book Expo were in Los Angeles, Sara was on a panel I attended. At the end, I pushed my way through the crowd to meet her, taking my one trek into that land of slobbering fan-dom. It was great! I stay on her e-zine list and a new issue is always a boost.

So, give it some thought. Who might be on your Board of Directors?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Can You See 2009?

What I mean is, have you really looked ahead, month by month, week by week and thought about what you'll be doing?

January is a good time to make a plan for the upcoming year. Are you planning any trips? Going to a reunion? Attending a conference for your day job? Sending your kids to camp? Is your church or civic group planning an event? Will you go to the State Fair or the Renaissance Faire (Gawd, I miss the Ren Faires! The nearest one here is in Wisconsin.)

But I digress...the point I am trying to make here is this: are there any activities coming up where you might be able to blend in a little book promotion? It's really helpful to consider it for the long haul. That way, you have plenty of ramp up time, and can do advance work, print promo, maybe get a piece in the local paper.

You also avoid the clash of two events, like planning a blog tour during the time your city has a big arts festival, or committing to hosting your inlaws on the same weekend a great writers conference happens in a town near you.

Try it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

NO SANCTUARY -- Cueing Up!

Looks good, huh? NO SANCTUARY is F.M. Meredith's latest addition to the Rocky Bluff PD series. Here's the back cover blurb:

While on patrol in the central California foothills near Rocky Bluff, Officer Stacey Wilbur spots a car crashed into a giant oak tree. A woman is slumped against the steering wheel.

The woman is dead, but it’s soon apparent the crash had little to do with her death. There is a bullet hole behind her ear.

The car belongs to the minister of a local church, and it’s his wife who’s dead on the front seat. Officer Wilbur drives to the minister’s home to give him the bad news, which is met with aloofness bordering on unconcern. The typical “suspect the spouse first” theory ratchets up a few ticks in Stacey Wilbur’s analytical mind.

Before that jells, however, Wilbur learns there’s much more in the mix.

Still an exciting moment...bringing out another one just never loses its charm!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Are You Reading Now?

One of the cruel ironies of being in the publishing biz is that it is often a struggle to find time to read just for the heck of it. Every so often, however, I just slide the TO DO list under a rock and pick up a book with no agenda in mind at all.

Right now, I am reading THE TIPPING POINT by Malcom Gladwell. I bought the book when it first came out in paperback, but somehow it just never got on the bedside table. Then I came upon it the other day while searching my stacks for Marilyn Meredith's SMELL OF DEATH because we are working on the cover of her next Rocky Bluff mystery.

I'm just getting into it...fascinating stuff!

So what are you reading?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Cover that Grabs--An Author You Know

You must have a cover that grabs and be an author she knows as well or this reader will not buy your book. That's what I just read in a post from one of my e-mail lists. How does a little-known author get through to a potential reader with opinions like that? Are most readers unlikely to buy an author she/he doesn't know? That's discouraging news for an author trying hard to gain recognition and readership.

What characteristics do the best covers have in common? How do you attract readers if you are an unknown author? I would love to learn the views of others.

Mary Montague Sikes
Secrets by the Sea

Friday, January 16, 2009

Out on the Weekend

Today is the third day I have been trapped inside due to the sub-zero weather, and I am getting a little buggy. Predictions are that tomorrow the mercury will soar into the 20s, and if that happens, I plan to dance up and down my street. Well, maybe not. But it sounds good anyway.

A little while ago, I tried to dance with my cat, Figaro. He didn't like it. I can't be sure whether it was dancing in general, or just my particular style, but the experience really ticked him off.

How long until spring?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finding the Story

Like most writers, I draw inspiration for stories from real life. One problem I am having is deciding what is the right story for the inspiration.

I have thought that the story of the serious accident I was in- head-on collision with a drunk driver with my two small daughters in the car- would be compelling. But I am having trouble determining exactly what the story actually is.

I originally thought of the story when I was completely debilitated and my husband turned into my servant. Not that he had much of a choice, but he ended up being a very good nurse. My imagination sparked, I thought of the story of a woman with a stale marriage, maybe just bored, maybe contemplating an affair, when the accident occurs and by the time she recovers, she realizes what a good thing she has in her husband and her family.

But my writing tends to lean toward crazed killers, devious psychotics, the things that interest me. So my next idea was that the story is really about a woman who is targeted by someone, and the accident was an attempt to kill her. Like me, she is confined to a wheelchair for several months, but unlike me, she is scared to try to walk. She has to confront this when the killer comes after her and she has to walk to save herself.

And option number three, my personal favorite, average housewife gets hit by drunk driver, he gets off the hook, she hunts him down and kills him and gets away with it. Or someone else kills him and the police think she's the culprit, and she has to prove her innocence.

So the question is how to pick the right story. I take after the stoic German side of my family, so the first option is a little more emotional that I'm used to dealing with and would be the most difficult for me to write. Option three would be the most fun and personally fulfilling. Option two would be easiest. So how to choose?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

I just received my copy of Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln: A Commemorative Collage, created by members of the National League of American Pen Women. The 252-page hardcover book is fascinating to glance through.

Our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, is considered from a variety of perspectives in work written by Pen Women from different parts of the country. My poem, "Mr. Lincoln, Did You Hear?," was created from childhood experiences when I lived and played near Civil War battlefields in Fredericksburg,VA. This poem evokes memories of old houses with cannonballs embedded in the walls, grave sites in ancient cemeteries and bloodstained floors in an old school building.

Three of my paintings including "Will There Be Peace Anywhere?" are part of the book. "Will There Be Peace?" is a universal theme that crosses the centuries.

The inaugural launch of Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln will be Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Pen Arts Building, 1300 Seventeenth St. NW in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From my tiny pied-à-terre on the corner of 11th and Broadway, I have a view of the Strand bookstore. It’s virtually impossible to look at the entrance for more than thirty second without seeing a customer enter or leave. Business is booming. As Billie noted, location, location, location. Being in a city with eight million people, a million of whom claim to be artists or intellectuals makes it easy to sell books. But there is more to the story than having a lot of potential customers. You have to know what they want. Two of the titles currently being featured on the Strand’s website are The Interrogation by J.M.G. Le Clezio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi, the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Meanwhile, a few blocks north, Barnes & Noble is featuring the Monopoly Onyx Edition by Hasbro Games, Celebrate Motown by Marvin Gaye (with “Bonus Tracks”), and Hot Cocoa Gift Box by iGourmet. I am not making this up. In fairness, B&N does have a few books listed. Some are even fiction. But the ones piled up on the tables to catch the casual shopper’s eye are by Julie Andrews, Rachel Ray, Willie Nelson, Tony Danza, Pete Sampras, Magic Johnson, and Perez Hilton. Do I sound like a snob? In fact, I haven’t read Le Clezio’s book yet nor have I read Azar Nafisi. I probably will, but I love genre writing. I also love Willie Nelson’s singing, Pete Sampras’ serve, and Rachael Ray’s cooking. But I can only read so many books in my lifetime, and I’m not going to waste a slot on Perez Hilton. I just finished Wilma Kahn’s Big Black Hole, one of the best P.I. books I’ve read in several years. She elevates tongue-in-cheek to an art. Her characters are gritty but ultimately redeeming. You won’t find her books piled on a table at the front of B&N, but I’ll wager you’ll find them in a few used bookstores over the next few years where readers go to discover good story tellers. Incidentally, Wilma's title fails the Google test big-time.
Billie asks why is it that bookstores have such a difficult time staying in business. I keep hearing it’s because we live in a visual age. Nonsense; so did the cavemen. You can’t survive without seeing what’s around you. Once you could choose between a movie or taking a walk in the park, a visual experience. Later you could choose a movie. Then television. Now you can watch a DVD, play a video game, or surf the net on your cell phone. The world has not grown increasingly visual. The visual has just become increasingly tawdry. And fun. And we’ve not had the willpower to resist. Most Americans will choose a Cinnabun ovwer an apple and a DVD over a book. But there are still a lot of readers out there. The used bookstore in my other residence in Georgia is in a strip mall. There’s a Book-a-Million a few doors down. They both seem to be surviving. But Books-A-Million is not really a bookstore. It’s a gift shop that has some books. And a coffee shop. I have nothing against them. Let free enterprise wave. But the used book store is where I meet interesting people who read books.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pondering the Book Store Biz

A link on Twitter took me to the Dear Author blog recently. Of course the churning of books is a big, often-lamented subject of mine, as is the whole "returns" topic, so I had to check it out. But this got me thinking...why is it that bookstores have such a difficult time staying in business?

As a recovering bean-counter, I'm driven to imagine the business model of a shop. The basics are inventory stock, payroll and general business expenses. For inventory, the shops get the flip side of the publishers' returns scenario, so slow-moving stock, bad buying decisions and overstocked items are easily cured. If they buy direct from publishers, they start at about a 40% discount. If they go through Ingram or BT, it's less, but usually there is the mixed pallet advantage, and they can churn titles (a la the legal case referenced above).

It's hard to imagine payroll expenses being a deal breaker. No snark intended, but my guess is most of the staff works at a rate just slightly higher than minimum wage. And there usually isn't a staff of thousands, but maybe one or two people on duty at a time. The priciest employee would be the manager, and I'm betting he/she doesn't get a Rick Wagoner-level salary...nor a jet for running errands. Further bet -- probably not a lot of shops offer retirement accounts and group insurance.

For general expenses, the thing that pops out to me is the amount of rent the shop might be paying. For those mall stores, I'm betting the rent is a huge item. Many malls charge rent plus a percentage of sales, somewhat diminishing the gleam of a big sales month. Destination stores, the ones in downtown areas that are no longer hot spots for shoppers, may pay less rent but may also give up a lot in general traffic. This goes back to that old saw, "Location, Location, Location," I suppose.

Or, is none of this key to the demise of bricks and mortar stores? Is it, in fact, a shift of volume to online sellers, especially Amazon?

When you think about it, this isn't isn't just idle wool-gathering. If publishers and authors want to sell books (and we do, we do!) we need to know why people buy where they buy. So, going back to the thrust of this post...what is it that makes it so hard for a bookstore to stay in business?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Radio Appearance for Sherry McGinnis

Sherry will be a guest on the Prescription Addiction Radio Show on Sunday night January 25th, between 9 and 10 p.m. EST discussing her books The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat, Slaying the Addiction Monster, and I Am Your Disease.
You can listen on your computer. Just go to and up on the top left it will say On the Air Now - and whoever is on at that time, it'll tell you. The host of the show is Larry G. He's a pharmacist by day and has this one hour show each week. Another woman will be a guest on the show too and we'll be talking about drug education in the schools. Should be an interesting show.

Anyone interested in learning how to get Sherry's books in your local schools or libraries, please contact her via

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Career Decisions--Taking Chances

Interesting story about Billie's niece, the Evanovich fan. A few years ago, I attended a RWA conference in Chicago and was talking with Janet Evanovich as she packed away some books following a not-so-successful book signing. She had just decided to leave Loveswept and spend a year or so writing a different kind of book. Since she was a successful romance author with many Loveswept titles, I was shocked and wondered how she could give up her career like that. Months later, I saw Janet at a Virginia Romance Writers club meeting and learned that her agent had gotten her an awesome contract for her new series. Not long after that she made an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning. With Loveswept, she was successful but had reached a plateau. With the new work, she was reaching out in a new direction, stretching herself to become a better, more successful writer. She was taking chances, and it paid off!

Mary Montague Sikes, author
Secrets by the Sea, Eagle Rising, Hearts Across Forever

About the Town of Rocky Bluff

I've added two more blogs to my last posts about Rocky Bluff P.D.

Some reviews that tell a bit about the last book in the series, Smell of Death, and then a description of what Rocky Bluff is like today.

Feel free to comment.

I'm having lots of fun letting my imagination run wild.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Started a Blog for Rocky Bluff P.D.

Just for fun I started a blog for my Rocky Bluff P.D. series

I'm hoping this is another way to interest people in my latest, No Sanctuary, coming soon from Oak Tree Press.

Periodically I have the characters tell about themselves on the blog. Today is Officer Stacey Wilbur.

Take a peek and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Evidence It Really Works

We have to believe that all the postcards, flyers, ads, blogs and all the rest works, that woven together, it forms a bond with readers, turning them into fans. Sometimes, though, it gets a little abstract.

Today however, I witnessed true evidence. My niece, Lisa came rushing in to my sister's house in an total frenzy, rushed to the computer, printed out an email and headed back for the door. "What's up," we said. "What's the rush?"

Waving the printout at us, Lisa explained that she had received her email newsletter from Janet Evanovich which announced her latest book, but when she went to the library to reserve a copy, the librarian insisted that Evanovich didn't have a new release. Apparently a squabble ensued, which Lisa intended to win by showing the librarian Evanovich's newsletter.

Wow, I thought! That is customer loyalty! Definite proof that marketing works.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Title Hijinx

I wrote this piece for the July issue of our in-house newsletter, COLOPHON...but I think it is worth repeating and sharing....

With thousands of new books hitting the market each month, it's more important than ever to choose a title that makes your book stand out and also makes it easy to find on internet sites where books are listed.

Lately, I've been studying the name game. Although most OTP books went to press with the titles the authors selected, there were a few where I felt the title had to be changed.

However, I have moments these days when I think the title is more crucial than the cover design because it's easy for a title to become "lost" in the many data bases where books are listed.

Try typing your title into Amazon, then noting how many citations are listed. Now think of the citation listing as being similar to a Google often do you click page 50? Page 10 even? Industry stats say that most viewers don't go to the second page of a Google search. What if this were true on Amazon or

If your book title is ranked 20th, or worse, 200th, in a list, the likelihood is great that someone searching for your book will give up long before he finds it.

If your book hasn't gone to press yet, it's a good idea to revise your title. Perhaps a minor change will make a big difference. Try variations and see what comes up before you create a totally new title.

If your book has already been printed, there are ways around this. Although it is possible to revise a title, the costs involved would be considerable, plus there would be other pesky details to conquer, so much so that I'd wonder it it were worth it. However, if your title doesn't pop up high on the list, you will want to educate people on how to search for it.... for example, you can type in the title and the author name (Dogs Of My Heart Billie Johnson) and it's much more likely the right book will pop up high in the list. On Amazon, the "Advanced Search" option lets you use more specific information including ISBN and publisher, which helps, and also searching by the author name
will bring up a narrow list.

The point is that, while there are tactics that work just fine, the real hurdle in this, as in other forms of book promotion, is educating the reader to zero in on YOUR title.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy...

...that Laura Bush has signed a deal with Scribner to pen her memoir, and the guesstimates are that the deal will come in around $8 million.

The celebrity memoir rant is one of my favorites, and perfect for my Blog a Day Challenge kickoff. I'm participating in the challenge organized by the blog-genius Dani at BlogBookTours, an event which stretches to the end of the month. But I digress...

What, one might ask, can Laura Bush, a woman who has lived in the national spotlight for eight years, have to reveal (that she is also willing to reveal) that justifies $8 million dollars? A good question, but the better one is when will the big houses stop doing this crazy stuff? The scenario will be that, since the publisher has millions on the line, they will strong arm stores and distributors to take on pallet-loads of the Laura book. Probably they will buy end-caps in the big stores and do a bunch of co-op ads. Then of course, after it's released, Laura will be everywhere for a few weeks, Fox & Friends, The View, Charlie Rose, Hardball, and all the rest. If the book is moving, everyone will be happy. If not, the returns process will kick in and Laura will end up on the remainders tables with Whoopi Goldberg, Katherine Hepburn, and all the other celebrity books that were busts.

My favorite is Marsha Clark's deal. Remember her? The LA prosecutor who LOST the OJ Simpson murder case. She got a $4 million media deal (there were other things in it beyond the hosting a TV show and so on) to issue the 80th book on the trial of the century. It didn't do well, and Marsha seems to have faded back into obscurity to enjoy her millions. Even after that, Johnnie Cochran penned a memoir. And it did worse! It was remaindered within the first month or so.

Years ago, as I was starting Oak Tree, I went to NYC for fact-finding. I made a bunch of appointments with editors at the big houses, just to chat. They were very gracious. The Whoopi Goldberg memoir had come out and laid its big egg just a few months earlier. When I met with a big editor at Random House, we got on the topic of the celebrity memoir, and, being a sparky sort of gal, I just asked him outright, "Why do you keep doing these memoirs that don't make it?" He said, "We know from our model that one in ten will be a big seller. We're willing to lose on nine to get to the tenth one."

I can still remember how stunned I was, and I still can't fathom the idea of accepting nine loser titles in order to get to the great one.

In my fantasies, I like to take a bejillion dollar advance and imagine divvying it up among all my's still a nice chunk of change!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolving to Compete

New Year. New Ideas. New Resolutions. We've all been there. And then something happens. Or, more accurately, nothing happens. We make too many promises to ourselves and then get paralyzed. Well, that's one of my resolutions — to decide what comes first and what can go. In terms of writing, my next novel, is a priority. So is taking small breaks to do other kinds of writing and even enter a contest or two. It's a great way to keep the writing muscles flexed and I highly recommend it.

One competition I entered last year is the 2008 Writers Digest Annual Writing Competition. I submitted two feature articles and both took honorable mention, ranking in the top 100; one came in at 32 and the other at 95. In total, there were over 17,500 entries across several genres, so I'm proud of my ranking. And the certificates make me smile on those gloomy writers-block days. Several years ago, I ranked #14 in the personal essay genre. It all adds to the whole and lets you put "award winning author" next to your name.

Give it a try as you work on your other pieces. Write something fresh. Send it into a contest. And then go back to your priority project. You'll be surprised at how one piece feeds into the other and keeps those writing wheels turning. Happy New Year.

Patricia Sheehy
OTP author

Friday, January 2, 2009

Book groups and promotion

Happy New Year all! I recently joined two book groups at the local Barnes and Noble which meet monthly, just because I like to read, and I need deadlines sometimes to get me to read more. Of course, I brought my bookmarks to let the members know about my OTP mystery, A Lesson in Murder. I visit this particular B&N often, and became friendly with the Community Relations Manager, who runs the book clubs. On one visit, she suggested I do a book signing in December, when there are a large number of customers. So, I had a signing on December 20, in the evening. Unfortunately, the weather was dreadful. But, I gave out free candy and bookmarks, and a number of book club members showed up, and I sold some books. The Community Relations Manager said that she had an idea to have a book group that read local authors. She said she is going to see if she can add this group to the already numerous other groups that meet each month. She said she wanted me to be the first author that will be read, and that I could then discuss my work with the group. I find this exciting, and I hope it pans out.

Just another promotional device for the struggling author.

Gus Cileone

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Donald Westlake

Happe New Year to all of you here.

Just came across some sad news, however, as author Donald Westlake has passed away.

A very witty, and prolific, author. (He also wroted under the name Richard Stark, among others). In addition to authoring a gazillion novels, he wrote the screenplay for "The Grifters" and received an Oscar nomination.

And prolific until the day he died, apparently. This NY Times write up concludes with these lines:

"He was writing all the way till he passed away. His next novel, “Get Real,” is scheduled to be released in April 2009."