Jun 192012
 
By Hilary Davidson

This week, I'm supposed to reveal all about crime-writing conferences. The good? I've got plenty to say about that. The bad? Well, I'm sad when they end. The ugly? I have no idea what you're talking about.

I can't even tell you how much I've gotten out of conferences like Bouchercon over the past couple of years. These events introduce me to new people, solidify friendships first formed online, and give me a chance to hang out with cool people who love books as much as I do.

Maybe I can't tell you how much I love crime conferences, but I can show you. Some great moments from conferences I've attended:

Murder & Mayhem in Muskego 2011
Bouchercon 2010
Bouchercon 2011
ThrillerFest 2011
ThrillerFest 2010
Bouchercon 2010
Bouchercon 2010
Bouchercon 2010
Bouchercon 2010 
Noircon 2010
Noircon 2010 
Bloody Words 2011
Noircon 2010
Bouchercon 2011
Bouchercon 2011
Bouchercon 2011
Bouchercon 2011
Bouchercon 2011 
Left Coast Crime 2012
Left Coast Crime 2012
QuebeCrime 2011
Bouchercon 2011
Bouchercon 2011
Left Coast Crime 2012
Bouchercon 2011

Jun 052012
 
By Hilary Davidson

If there's a profession less suited for pet-guardianship than travel writer, I haven't heard about it. Lily Moore, my main character in The Damage Done and The Next One to Fall (and the upcoming Evil in All Its Disguises), travels the world, writing about the places she visits for magazines, newspapers and guidebooks. She's never in one place — including her own apartment — for long. If she had a pet, it would be the loneliest critter ever. Even the most solitary cat or sleepiest lizard wants more attention than a travel writer can give.

Like Lily, I don't have a pet. In a way, that's strange for me, because my parents' house, when I was growing up, was filled with an intriguing menagerie of creatures, including (at various times) cats, snakes, frogs, and one particularly squeaky guinea pig. (My brother Christopher still hasn't forgiven me for eating guinea pig when I was in Peru.) I love animals (especially llamas). Most of the people I know in my neighborhood, I've met because I was admiring their dogs. But I know how much love and care pets need, and I'm not at home enough to give a steady supply of either. Even though I'm not a full-time travel writer anymore, I'm on the road as much as ever to attend book festivals and to speak at bookstores and libraries. I keep thinking that one day, I'll be ready to have a pet again, but it hasn't happened yet.

*          *          *

Speaking of travel, I have a fantastic trip coming up. This month, I head to British Columbia for a crime spree at libraries and bookstores with fellow mystery writers Robin Spano, Deryn Collier, and Ian Hamilton. We're calling it The Crime Tour, and if you'd like to see us in action, here's where we'll be:

Real Vancouver Crime: Sunday, June 17th from 2-5 p.m., W2 Media Cafe 
Join Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio as he hosts The Crime Tour for an afternoon of readings in a funky upstairs space on Vancouver’s Lower East Side. $5 cover. Books will be available for sale on site.

Murder in the Woods: Monday, June 18th from 6:30-8:00 p.m., Squamish Public Library
The Crime Tour travels up the Sunshine Coast for an evening of chatting mystery and writing in the wooded beauty of the Sea-to-Sky highway. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale on site by Armchair Books.

Meet and Greet at Chapters: Tuesday, June 19th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Chapters (Robson & Howe)
Come down to Chapters on Robson & Howe to meet and visit with The Crime Tour authors and get your books signed. Books will be available for sale/signing.

A Mystery Evening to Die For Tuesday June 19th from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Richmond Public Library Brighouse (Main) Branch
Join up with The Crime Tour for a full evening of author readings, a panel discussion on the writing process and a lengthy Q&A. Books will be available for sale on site from Dead Write Books.

Triple Threat: Chicks Who Solve Crime! Thursday June 21 7:00-8:30 p.m., Burnaby Public Library, McGill Branch
Join The Crime Tour chicks for a fun, all-female night of mystery readings and discussion in Burnaby. Books will be available for sale on site from Dead Write Books.

Feb 282012
 

You might be wondering what I'm doing, blogging at Criminal Minds on a Tuesday. That's normally my fabulous friend Rebecca Cantrell's slot. I'm sad to report that Becky won't be blogging here on a regular basis anymore, but she has promised to come by and visit from time to time. The good news is that less blogging gives her more time to write. Have you heard about the project she's working on now? That would be the recently-announced BLOOD GOSPEL, a novel she's writing with James Rollins. I'm hoping she drops in to give us an update soon!

My former slot on Sunday is being taken over by another amazing friend of mine: Chris F. Holm. You may know him from his acclaimed short-story collection 8 POUNDS. If not, get ready to hear a lot about his debut novel, DEAD HARVEST, which is being released today by Angry Robot Books. (Congrats, Chris!) I was lucky enough to get an advance read; I find it tough to write blurbs, but it was very easy to praise Chris's work. "Chris F. Holm clearly had both angels and devils watching over him as he wrote DEAD HARVEST. Thrilling, riveting and hardboiled as hell, this stunning debut still manages to be incredibly soulful. If I could recommend one book to everyone this year, this would be it." I stand by those words. You can read an excerpt on Criminal Element. If you haven't ordered the book already, please do yourself a favor and get it now!

I've got news, too: THE NEXT ONE TO FALL came out two weeks ago, and I'm just back from my tour of the Southwest. I had the pleasure of visiting Murder by the Book in Houston, BookPeople (really MysteryPeople) in Austin, The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, and the Velma Teague Library in Glendale, Arizona. My heartfelt thanks to the stores (and library) that hosted me, and to everyone who came out to meet me. I'm honored and grateful for the warm welcome I received. Before I left, I also had a fantastic launch party at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. Want to see photos from the party and the tour so far? I'll be adding to the album as I go. Next stops: Book Revue in Huntington, New York (tonight!); the Ancaster Branch of the Hamilton Public Library on March 7th; and the Canadian launch party for THE NEXT ONE TO FALL at Ben McNally Books in Toronto on March 8th. After that: Denver, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, and more.

The photo above was taken at Murder by the Book, which had just received the latest issue of Crimespree Magazine (issue #45) on the day I spoke there. I'm so very grateful for Ruth Jordan and Jen Forbus's interview with me, and for Jon Jordan's very kind editorial. Most of all, I'm grateful for all of the support I've received. It's exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

If you want to see what else I've been up to lately, you'll find that here. Now, the Carmen Sandiego portion of today's program. Check out this photo. The clues are below!

1. This photograph might give you the impression you're standing in a remote location, but you're actually in a large city... the eastern edge of a large city.

2. The limestone cliffs reminded early settlers of the white cliffs of England's Yorkshire coast. The original town was named for a Yorkshire town. That town had since become part of a large metropolis, but this district is still commonly referred to by its original English name.

3. This is a very popular location for filming television and movie scenes. On film, it's been depicted as a remote island and as a village in India, among other places.

4. The area is of at least as much interest to scientists as it is to filmmakers. There is a current, ongoing controversy about measuring wind speed in the area. Local residents are not happy about that at all.

5. Did I mention residents? You can't see them in the photo, but there are houses at the top of the cliffs. Not giant mansions for megalomaniacs who want to pretend they're on a desert island... just nice family homes with an extraordinary view.

6. The water you see in the photo is fresh water, not salt.

Looking forward to hearing your best guesses!
Feb 192012
 
By Hilary Davidson

My second novel, THE NEXT ONE TO FALL, was published by Forge this week, on Valentine’s Day (a fact you may already know, thanks to this valentine from my fabulous friend Rebecca Cantrell). It’s an ironic release date, since the book features a wealthy man whose wives and other female companions have a strange habit of going missing… or turning up dead. Romantic, the book is not. But it does bring back Lily Moore, the main character from THE DAMAGE DONE, and her best friend, Jesse Robb, and it sets them loose in Peru.

I had an amazing launch party thanks to the wonderful staff of The Mysterious Bookshop and to all of the friends who turned out for it. By the time you read this, I'll have visited Murder by the Book in Houston and BookPeople in Austin to talk about the book. Next up: The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, and the Velma Teague Library in Glendale, Arizona.

Crimespree Magazine #45 — with a cover story about me! — is now in print and available online. Many, many thanks to Jon Jordan, Ruth Jordan and Jen Forbus. If you're not a subscriber, you should fix that now.

Thanks are also owed to the kind people who've let me stop by their blogs lately: Jen Forbus, Elizabeth A. White, Chris F. Holm, Todd Ritter, and the fabulous ladies at Jungle Red Writers. I'm also grateful to a long list of reviewers, including Ms. Forbus and Ms. White, as well as Lesa Holstine, Jedidiah Ayres, Carolyn Cooke, Katrina Niidas Holm, and Laurie Grassi. The people behind Criminal Element have been fantastic. An extra-special thank-you to Scott Montgomery, who has interviewed me and written a lot of wonderful things about THE NEXT ONE TO FALL. My thanks to everyone who has supported the book. I couldn't do this without you.

PS If you want to see Peru through my eyes, take a look at these images from my trip there. There's more than just llamas... but yes, there are lots of llamas.
Feb 052012
 

My second novel featuring Lily Moore, THE NEXT ONE TO FALL, will be released on Valentine's Day. One of the wonderful things about writing a series character is that you get to know her really, really well. That includes her musical tastes. Lily has an MP3 player, which she has with her in Peru in the book, but it's filled with music that's decades old. One of her favorite songs is Frank Sinatra's version of "I've Got You Under My Skin."



Another song Lily is particularly fond of is one that Sinatra wrote: "I'm a Fool to Want You." I don't know that Sinatra ever admitted this, but the song was supposed to have been inspired by his wife, Ava Gardner, and their rocky relationship. One of Sinatra's arrangers famously said that "It was Ava who taught him how to sing a torch song." The longing and regret is readily apparent in his voice — which is, of course, what appeals so strongly to Lily.



Another singer Lily adores is Ella Fitzgerald. Truth be told, Ella is also one of my all-time favorites. It's almost impossible to pick one song to include, but at the top of both of our lists is "But Not for Me."



In so many ways, Lily lives in the past, so it's a surprise when she discovers a modern-day singer she loves. Have you met Holly Cole? This contemporary chanteuse sounds like a 1940s diva — which is precisely why Lily loves her. Here's "Make It Go Away or Make It Better."



Since THE NEXT ONE TO FALL is just about to come out, there are a few things I should mention. One is the pre-order contest, which is open to anyone in the US or Canada who pre-orders the book in any format: hardcover, eBook, or audio book. The launch party will be at NYC's Mysterious Bookshop on Wednesday, February 15th at 6:30pm — if you're in town, consider yourself invited. After that, I'll be on tour in Houston, Austin, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Glendale (AZ), Long Island (NY), Toronto, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco... please check out my list of upcoming events, and come say hi if I'm in your town. If you want to keep up with what I'm doing, sign up for my newsletter.

I'm honored that Austin's BookPeople, where I'll be speaking on Saturday, February 18th, has made THE NEXT ONE TO FALL its Mystery Pick of the Month. It's also one of the recommended books of the month from Canada's Chatelaine magazine. THE NEXT ONE TO FALL has received wonderful reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal, as well as from several independent reviewers. I'm also very excited about being Crimespree's cover girl for the January/February 2012 issue — if you don't already subscribe to the magazine, this would be a great time to start! My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of me and my work. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.