Thursday, April 24, 2014

"It wasn’t a body I’d dumped. Not really." -- The Impact of a Good Editor

The Art of Resurrection

By Elle Cosimano

From The Thrill Begins - the Forum of the International Thriller Writers.

It wasn’t a body I’d dumped. Not really. 
More like a slippery mass of heart and guts that I delivered in the form of an 85,000-word manuscript with a query letter.
“You write passionately, with a lot of heart,” my soon-to-be agent said right before she signed me as her client. “You’ve got the makings of a great hook and a hot romance here. But the plot is weak, and the mystery isn’t really a mystery at all.”
She was right.
So with rigid determination, I set out to give it structure. I tinkered with the story until the skeleton of a strong plot took shape, then preserved and tucked the fragile heart of my book safely under its ribs.
“Now you’ve got the heart, and you’ve got the plot, but you’re writing a thriller. And it isn’t scary enough,” she said. Then she added in a stern, mothering tone. “Elle, someone has to die.”
And again (and as always) she was right.
So I toughened up. Pushed my way past all the inner and outer voices that held the reins on my story. I let go of my fears of what people would think… would it be too dark? Would it be too scary? I let go and I ran toward the darkness instead of skirting the edge of it like a coward. 
And when I returned from that journey, the thin, fragile body I’d left lying on my agent’s desk had muscle! It had legs to stand on! It had filled out into some living, breathing thing. It was terrifying, and I loved it!
All it needed was a bit of fleshing out. A little character arc-rounding here. A little backstory-filling there. A little shaping and definition, and… viola! 
I’d finally dumped a body -- a real mystery – into my agent’s trusting hands.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Graeme Shimmin's 2-Minute Book Pitch for A Kill in the Morning

OK, What's your name? Grim Shaming? Is that a pseudonym? 
        No. Graeme Shimmin. It's British. 

British, huh? I think Hitchcock was the last really good Brit to show up here. Are you related? 
        Umm. No.

Did you ever meet him? I mean, being in Britain and all?
        No, there are actually quite a few people in the United Kingdom and anyway, he's dead. 

Oh. OK you have two minutes to blow me away. Convince me to throw millions at...what is it? Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park ? I always thought that a remake of that would work--you know,with the crazy makeup and all.
        No, not a kiss, a kill. It's a book and the title is "A Kill in the Morning."  

OK, OK, Go with it. Why did you pick that title?
         It's a reference to James Bond - specifically From a View to a Kill. Ian Fleming took that title from a hunting song, which goes "From a View to a Kill in the Morning"

Bond is always good. What's the logline?

       "James Bond versus the Nazis" or "Inglorious Basterds meets Thunderball." On the book, it's "Never Let Evil Out of Your Sights".

You gotta pick one and go with it. Never mind. What's the teaser pitch?

      The year is 1955 - it’s fourteen years since Churchill died and the Second World War turned into an Anglo-German Cold War. Against orders, a British agent attempts to assassinate SS leader, Reinhard Heydrich. When he reaches Germany the agent discovers Heydrich has built a superweapon and is planning to restart the war and this time subjugate the entire world. 

OK, who is this guy--this hero--and what's his change arc?       
     The hero is a reluctant assassin with vitriolic personal hatred of the Nazis. When the head of the British Service, who is his his mentor and father figure, is assassinated, the hero infiltrates Germany on a suicidal revenge mission. There he's stunned to discover that his mentor was collaborating with the Nazis. He also discovers the Nazis have built a superweapon that will enable them to restart the war, destroy Britain and subjugate the entire world. Heydrich forces him into a series of no-win dilemmas and he has to decide just how much he is prepared to sacrifice to stop the Nazis.

Whoa. Whoa. Don't give it all away. That's like dropping your panties before the money comes out. How did you come up with the idea?
        I love classic spy fiction - Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, Alistair Maclean, and A Kill in the Morning is my Tarantino-style tribute to it.

Tarantino? I like that. Last Question: I'm rich, I'm famous, and I'm fabulously good-looking. Why should I buy this book?
      It has similar action sequences to the Bond and Bourne franchises, but the plot has a sci-fi twist that makes it unique.
- See more at:
We've Got A Winner! Delores, cut a check for a couple of million! Wait, you'd call it a "cheque," wouldn't you?
     For that amount of money, you can call it anything you like.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let’s Talk Covers and Stealing From Other Artists

The Man With The Golden Mind by Tom VaterRotten At The Heart by Bartholomew Daniels This
is Tuesday, not Monday. You may be confused (and possibly inconsolable)
because there was no post from me yesterday. I’d like to say there’s
some grand excuse for it, but I just plain forgot. Well, that’s not
actually true. I truly thought I had written this post already and
posted it but never bothered to check. I’m a genius, I know.

So let’s talk about design. Book covers specifically (you’ll notice
two of our more recent covers off to the side there). I love book
covers. I love browsing the book store and looking at what other
publishers are doing. Some are very good and some are very bad, but the
vast majority are a mix of the two. So far I think Exhibit A has done
some pretty cool covers. But as I’m settling in to the role and starting
to feel my independence, I’ve been talking to Marc more and more about
my specific ideas for what I want in Exhibit A covers.

When we start the cover process, I usually email the author and the
agent and get their thoughts (one of the benefits of being a smaller
publisher btw) and then I write up my notes and send the designed some
sample covers or other images. At first I was only sending covers of
books that were similar to the one we were publishing, but lately I’ve
been including book covers and movie posters for unrelated work that I
think would work well with the book at hand. When Marc and I were in NYC
we spend an hour or so just going through cover images from books and
albums as well as movie posters to get a sense of what we are looking
for in an Exhibit A book. I’ll be discussing this more in-depth over the
next few months and maybe doing a full behind the scenes look at out
cover process.

For now though, I’ve set up a Tumblr account
where I’ll be posting what’s inspiring me and what I’m sending to our
cover designers. It’s still rough as Tumblr is being a giant meanie
about a typo in the email address I registered with, but check back
regularly to see if it ever gets up and running. |: From the Editor:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Something Special For Your Children And Grandchildren! | alexcordnews

I want to share this interview with you all. MRS. D is an
award-winning children’s author who moved from the Ukraine to the United
States of America. She brought with her some wonderful ideas about
children’s books and the desire to write them. It’s important that we
teach our children to read and I think I’m safe when saying that MRS. D
agrees with me when I say that books can be the best friend of a child.

Enjoy this interview and don’t forget to download a copy of her charming book “The Trees Have Hearts.”

 It’s FREE at the moment on Amazon and every download will make more children aware of the wonders of reading.

How would describe your books? Do you write in more than one genre? What are they?

When I write, I never think into what genre my story will fit. A good
story always finds its place and reader. I often mix realistic fiction
with modern fantasies. I think these two styles describe my books best. I
twist true events with unrealistic characters, which teach children to
conquer problems, build self-esteem, and overcome challenges in their
lives. They also show young readers the beauty and power of nature and
help them learn about the true meaning of friendship and family. It also
helps them better connect to the surrounding world and care for our
younger friends, the animals. I do not think that mixing two genres
confuses young readers. Children easily connect to imaginary characters
and often see themselves or their behavior from a different perspective.

I also like to write short stories for adult readers. I am presently
working on my first novel, The Chinese Princess, and a short story, A
Taste of Bread. Let’s see where my restless imagination takes me.

How long have you been writing? How long did it take to write your book? And what motivated you to write it?

I have been writing since I learned to hold a pen. I wrote my first
poem when I was six. Throughout my school years, I wrote many short
stories and poems in both Ukrainian and Russian. I started writing in
English in 2011. Since then, I have published five children’s books.
Three more are coming this year and a few more will be published in the
near future.

I do not have a particular plan or schedule. I write when I feel the
story, when I can’t think of anything else—just the words transforming
into sentences, filling my brain until I cannot sleep. That’s how I know
I have something to share. I write because I love to get lost in the
imaginary world full of beautiful characters, words, and phrases.

I write because I want the same experience for the reader. I never
treat writing as a job. The story should come from the heart, from the
soul, from emotions, and ripen over time. Before I put my story on
paper, I must feel it in my whole being. Then I know I can bring it to
the reader.

I don’t look for motivation, either. I am a child of the post-WWII
generation. I grew up in the Soviet Union. Each day of my life was a
story. Sometimes I feel I have already lived a hundred lives. My life is
my story. I am not sure if I am lucky or cursed.

Something Special For Your Children And Grandchildren! | alexcordnews: Something Special For Your Children And Grandchildren!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Launch Party for Ice Cold - MWA's Newest Anthology

On Tuesday, April 29th, the Mystery Writers of America will be launching our newest
anthology, Ice Cold, edited by
Ice Cold Anthology CoverJeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson.  The launch party will be held at The Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY.  Phone number is 212-587-1011.  The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. and many of the contributors are scheduled to appear.  In addition, many of the 2014 Edgar® Award nominees will also be at the bookstore.

Visit Mysterious' website for more information: