Thursday 22 November 2007

Conrad Black coming to London!

I blogged about Conrad Black back in June 22 and it seems that legal complications make it impossible for him to appear in person, but thanks to LongPen™, Conrad Black will autograph his latest book, the critically acclaimed The Invincible Quest: the Life of Richard Milhous Nixon (Quercus) at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, in London on November 28th, 6.30pm, from his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Lord Black, once one of the world’s most powerful press barons, is facing a prison term as he is due to be sentenced on December 10th.

Andrew Roberts, the acclaimed historian, will act as interviewer and host for the evening.

Since its publication in the spring, The Invincible Quest has received international critical acclaim. Almost forty years after he was elected president of the United States, Richard Milhaus Nixon remains one of the most polarizing leaders of the twentieth century. His was a life of contradictions: re-elected by a landslide victory, he left office in disgrace; often awkward and sometimes self-pitying, Nixon captivated legions of ordinary citizens. Yet amidst such controversies as Watergate and the Vietnam War, there were also a number of brilliant domestic and foreign policy successes such as the opening up of U.S. relations with China, the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the completion of school desegregation. Extensively researched and rich in detail, The Invincible Quest sheds new light on an extraordinarily complex man.

Invented by Margaret Atwood, the LongPen™ is the world's first long distance, real-time, real pen and ink autographing device. Representing a giant leap forward in marketing and publicity, it operates over the Internet and incorporates video conferencing, allowing celebrities to meet with fans and to sign autographs for them from anywhere in the world without actually being at the event location. Offering a legal signature to finalize transactions, LongPen™ also facilitates the signing of documents, contracts, treaties, and so on.

Waterstone's is the first UK book retailer to conduct a pilot project with LongPen, following its launch in Canada, and a series of exciting events at literary festivals on either side of the Atlantic.

The first transatlantic public event using Margaret Atwood's LongPen™ invention was unveiled at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, with Andrew O'Hagan in Charlotte Square Gardens talking to legendary US author Norman Mailer from his home in Provincetown. With the use of this extraordinary new technology, Mailer spoke for an hour, answering questions from a capacity audience, and remotely signing a number of books. This was to be Mailer’s final public appearance in the UK.
For further information on the event with Conrad Black at Waterstone’s please contact Anwen Hooson on 020 8996 4355 or

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Tuesday 20 Nov 2008

Sorting out a newly arrived batch of books I think I’ve spotted a new trend. Much like the old adage: you wait for one bus to arrive then two come together. In this case, it’s the use of Judas in the title. In the UK we have The Judas Heart by Ingrid Black and the forthcoming The Judas by Steve Jackson. Steve, by the way, has written an article for us and will appear on the website over the weekend of 25/26 November. Stateside you had The Judas Strain by James Rollins and Cry Judas by Frederick F Meyers and out in 2008 - Judas Horse: An FBI Special Agent Ana Greg Mystery by April Smith.
Any advances?

Friday 16 November 2007

Friday 16 Nov

British writer Martin Edwards now has entered the blogdom with his very own place He reports that his UK publishers Allison & Busby has scheduled for February the paperback edition of The Arsenic Labyrinth, plus the return of Harry Devlin, in Waterloo Sunset, next June. Make sure you check him out.

Rick Mofina’s response to the worldwide draw to have a minor character named after winning entrants in his upcoming standalone thriller, SIX SECONDS, was terrific. Congratulations to the winners, who are:
Karen Dyer, Oakland, CA USA
Moe Holman, Calgary, AB, Canada
Carol Mintz, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Terry M., Hamilton, ON, Canada
Sobil Mounce-Bazley, Bristol, England

Freelance journalist Danuta Kean's recent blog entitled, Dreaming of having your book published? is an eyeopener for all newcomers.

Anyone who believes being an author is a pathway to riches is in for a rude awakening. Though the image of the starving writer scribbling away in their garret is dated, the average writer has seen their income drop from a measly £7,000 a year in 2000 (source: The Society of Authors) to £4,000, according to the latest research from the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). Although news headlines may trumpet six figure advances for debut novelists and high profile politicians, the reality is that most authors’ advances are well below £10,000. read more

My tip for next year is Michael Robotham's SHATTER pubished in UK February 2008 by Sphere. It's gone through a few title changes - Shattered Angels and The Sleep of Reason until settling on, at least in the UK, Shatter (unfortunately this reminds me of the 1974 Hammer Film starring Peter Cushing and Stuart Whitman) I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Ferry but Shatter is far and away his best title to date. I'm over half-way through it at the moment and it's superb, powerful stuff. Here's a taster and if this doesn't grab you, then I don't know what will ....

There is a moment when all hope disappears, all pride is gone, all expectation, all faith, all desire. I own that moment. It belongs to me. That’s when I hear the sound.’
‘What sound?’
‘The sound of a mind breaking. It’s not a loud crack like when bones shatter or a spine fractures or a skull collapses. And it’s not something soft and wet like a heart breaking. It’s a sound that makes you wonder how much pain a person can endure; a sound that shatters memories and lets the past leak into the present; a sound so high that only the hounds of hell can hear it.
‘Can you hear it?’
‘Someone is curled up in a tiny ball crying softly into an endless night.

If you want to read more you can download a sample pdf from Michael's website:

Macmillan calls time on Pan Bookshop & Bond is Back

ONE OF LONDON'S most iconic bookshops, the Pan Bookshop in Fulham Road, is to close in January after 32 years trading. Parent company Macmillan cites “tough market conditions and a decline in the overall trading of independent bookshops”, as well as its position in one of the capital's most expensive high street locations.
Macmillan is in discussions with a potential new tenant and is in consultation with Manager Julian Rafot and his staff of eight full-time booksellers, who are supplemented by seven part-time assistants. One staffer, Kaaron Ramus, has been there for 20 years and Rafot for five years. Veteran bookseller Geoffrey Bailey, who works at the shop part-time and former manager of Crime In Store and Crime On Store, told Publishing News: “It's a great shock to us all. It is going to be particularly devastating for our customers, who are all local regulars and have been coming here for many years.” The shop has several high profile customers, including Jeremy Paxman, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan. Geoffrey can glean some consolation in being appointed an incoming judge for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Awards.

Geoffrey Bailey and literary agent, Jane Conway Gordon

There are rumours going around that Daniel Craig as been seen in London this week, and also at Pinewood Studios, where Bond 22 will be filmed.
According to reports, Craig is there to view screentests of potential actresses who could star opposite him in the 22nd James Bond film, which starts shooting in January. Media in Brazil claim Cleo Pires is the favourite to land the lead female role, but there are reportedly five others in contention, including Israeli actress Moran Atias. Dame Judi Dench (M) and Giancarlo Giannini (Mathis) will also reprise their roles. The screenplay has been written by Paul Haggis, based on a first draft screenplay developed by regular scribes Neal Purvis & Robert Wade. The story will be a direct continuation of the events of Casino Royale. Composer David Arnold is to score again and, if rumours be true, Kylie Minogue will sing the main theme. Craig also admits that he would love to appear on UK TV serial Heartbeat (created by Nicholas Rhea from his Constable series of books), as his Mum loves it and it would be a thrill to do. Heartbeat is set in the 1960s, in the fictional Yorkshire town of Aidensfield. The first seasons focus on the lives of London policeman Nick Rowan, who moves to the village with his doctor wife Kate.

Thursday 15 November 2007

3 more Alex Rider books

By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - The author of the hit Alex Rider kids' spy series says there are probably three more books to follow the seventh instalment just published, but hopes of a movie franchise may have been dashed after just one film.
"Snakehead", the latest Alex Rider adventure, follows the 14-year-old super-spy on a treacherous mission to infiltrate ruthless gangs smuggling weapons, drugs and people across Southeast Asia.
In what Anthony Horowitz calls "the most scary chapter I've ever written", Alex is imprisoned at a centre where his body parts are to be removed for transplants.
"What makes it so horrible is the fact that people involved are so charming -- not my usual comical villains, but quite monstrous," Horowitz said in a telephone interview. "It is a very dark chapter."
The 52-year-old said he deliberately wove real elements into his action-packed adventures, which are often compared to those of James Bond minus the sex.
In "Snakehead" there are clear references to the plight of refugees, tsunamis, the recent Live 8 anti-poverty pop concerts and ethnic tensions in Afghanistan.
"The success of the books is connected in part to the fact that they are always dealing with the real, recognisable world."
Horowitz said he would probably wind up the bestselling Rider series at 10 books, meaning three more stories that will take him another five years to complete.
"The big secret is to stop while the books are good," he said. "I dread stopping. I love the books and the books are loved." The series has sold an estimated 11 million copies to date, four million of them in the United States.


Early critical reaction to "Snakehead" has been positive.
"'Snakehead' goes deeper than any previous book, either by Horowitz or his rivals in the spy kids trade, in its vivid portrayal of pure evil," wrote Amanda Craig of the Times.
However, the outlook for big screen adaptations of the popular series is less rosy.
"Stormbreaker", the movie based on the first Alex Rider novel, was released in 2006 amid hopes of a new and lucrative film franchise akin to the blockbuster Harry Potter series that has netted around $4.5 billion (2.2 billion pounds) at the global box office so far.
But the film floundered, earning some $24 million worldwide, and Horowitz blamed distributor the Weinstein Co. for failing to release it widely in the United States.
"Harvey Weinstein decided not to distribute it (in the United States)," Horowitz said. "It is one of the most bizarre and annoying things that the film didn't get given its shot in America. To this day I don't know why."
Horowitz added that he had written a screenplay for the second Alex Rider book, but the project now "hangs completely in the balance.
"There is no certainty at all..." of the film being made, he said. "In fact I would say that the chances are fairly slim."

© Reuters2007All rights reserved.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

RIP Ira Levin & Norman Mailer

Over on Sara Weinman's blog she carries a report on the death of IRA Levin

Also it's sad to report that legendary author Norman Mailer died of renal failure at the weekend. He was 84. Controversial to the end, Mailer's last work, published this summer by Little, Brown, was a fictional exploration of the life of Adolf Hitler, The Castle in the Forest (available in paperback from December). Other Mailer fiction includes the equally controversial The Gospel According to the Son, while highlights of his non-fiction includes the biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald's Tale. Described in his BBC obituary as 'the bad boy of post-war American literature', Mailer also had the curious distinction of having head-butted a fellow author, Gore Vidal.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Criminal Goings On

John Le Carré’s partly autobiographical story of the life of a British double agent starts this week on a Saturday slot for classic drama.
Watch trailer
"When I first began writing, Ian Fleming was riding high and the picture of the spy was that of a character who could have affairs with women, drive a fast car, who used gadgetry and gimmickry to escape." John Le Carré
Which reminds me, what ever happened to the adaptation of Henry Porter’s A Spy’s Life, which was meant to be a BBC production? I think we should know.

Slick and stylish Trial And Retribution will return to ITV1 next year with eight 2x60min films taking the total to a staggering 16 hours of prime-time television for ITV 1. The emotionally charged films are currently in production and shooting at locations across London. Head of Continuing Drama, Corinne Hollingworth said, “Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution has gone from strength to strength during its ten years on ITV, and we're absolutely thrilled to be able to give the audience eight more exciting two part episodes in 2008."
After 10 years of crime fighting, battle weary DCS Walker, DCI Conner and DS Satchell return to solve a series of dark and disturbing cases. David Hayman, Victoria Smurfit and Dorian Lough head up the cast with Kerry Fox (Cold Blood, Shallow Grave) joining the team as DI Moira Lynch and David O’Hara (The Departed, Braveheart) as DI Jack Mullins. Other guest artists include Ben Miles (V for Vendetta, Coupling, After Thomas) Jamie Sives (Hallam Foe, Wedding Belles) Michael Nardone (Rome, Low Winter Sun) Tom Ellis (No Angels, Suburban Shootout) and rising star Kierston Wareing, (critically acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in Ken Loach’s film It’s A Free World).
The films will be executive produced by series creator Lynda La Plante and produced by Jolyon Symonds (Hustle, Whatever Love Means), who will be teaming up with the best of British writer and director talent. Writers include; Julie Dixon, Dudi Appleton, Jim Keeble and Christian Spurrier and will be working alongside directors; Alex Pilla (Trial and Retribution XII: Paradise Lost, The Best Man), Paul Wilmhurst (Forgiven), David Moore (Sweeny Todd, Wallis and Edward). Tristram Powell (Foyle’s War, Judge John Deed), Benjamin Ross (The Young Poisoner’s Hand Book, My Little Eye) and Jane Prowse (The Commander, Rocket Man)

Denise Hamilton emailed me about a new Chandler book: “I don’t know if you’re aware of a new book about Raymond Chandler, called “The Long Embrace, Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved” by Judith Freeman but it’s quite interesting. I walked around with the author seeking Chandler’s LA, and here’s the result.
The LA Times Book Review just put the book on their cover Sunday, which is a big deal. I think it’s quite an extraordinary book, part memoir, part biography, partly a search for old LA, and tries to get at the question: was Chandler a repressed homosexual. Lots of interesting stuff. I hope you can get it in the UK or it will appear there soon.” In fact, it was published in the UK on 6th November by Pantheon Books.

The second Féile Fidelma, an international gathering of enthusiasts of the Sister Fidelma Mysteries, will be held in Cashel. Co. Tipperary , Ireland , from September 5 - 7, 2008. Nearly 100 people from 9 different countries attended the first Féile Fidelma gathering in September, 2006, and the organisers expect a larger number next year. The international best-selling Sister Fidelma Mysteries are written by Peter Tremayne, and have sold in 17 languages and sales earlier in 2006 were said to have exceeded three million copies. They have been optioned for developing for television by a Dublin based production company, have already been broadcast as plays on German radio and issued on audio books in several languages. French readers voted them the best mystery series of 2007. They are set in 7th Century Ireland and Cashel, the ancient Irish town, is the central location setting – hailed now as Fidelma’s `hometown’. Registrations for the event have already begun and are accessible via and The registration fee, for three days of lectures and the dinner is US$195 or equivalents. There is a 10% discount for registrations before May 1, 2008.

Those of you who like the true crime genre should read Ben Myer’s Guardian blog entitled Redeeming the true crime memoir. The piece on Noel “Razor” Smith spouting on about his “new mate” disgraced Tory ex-MP, Jonathan Aitken (“a good geezer”)made me smile, as the latter is back in favour with the Conservative party as he took charge of a task force on prison reform within Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice to help formulate Conservative policy. Aitken stressed this is not part of a political comeback. Conservative spokesmen pointed out that the task force is independent of the party, even though the organisation is run by Iain Duncan Smith, who is a former Tory leader. What, no Lord Archer as well?

Go behind the scenes on TV’s hottest show with the Official CSI Magazine. Titan Publishing is proud to announce the launch of the brand new Official CSI Magazine, hitting newsstands November 15 2007. Packed with news and interviews from the CSI team, exclusive pictures and behind-the-scenes features, every issue of The Official CSI Magazine will bring you a thrilling insight into the DNA of America’s number one hit drama series.

Thursday 8 November 2007

ARIANA FRANKLIN wins CWA Ellis Peters Award

On a mild November evening the UK publishing world gathered at Six Fitzroy Square, London W1 to discover who won this year’s CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award. The award is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters and her publishers, the Headline Book Publishing Group and the Little, Brown Book Group. After a brief introduction by David Shelley representing Little, Brown and the Ellis Peters esatate he handed over the proceeding to Janet Laurence. After giving the audience a run down of the entries she announced that the winner, and recipient of the £3000 prize money was ARIANA FRANKLIN for MISTRESS OF DEATH.

The shortlist consisted of Jason Goodwin - THE SNAKE STONE (FABER&FABER);Philip Kerr - THE ONE FROM THE OTHER (Quercus);Andrew Martin - MURDER AT DEVIATION JUNCTION (Faber & Faber);Mark Mills, THE SAVAGE GARDEN, (HarperCollins)and Stef Penney - THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES (Quercus).