This Shop is Closed - But a New One Has Opened

Those of you who still subscribe to this RSS feed may have noted that it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here. Thought I’d drop a line to tell you that this shop is closed — but my fresh new website can be found at http://www.robertgregorybrowne.com.

So if you want to continue to get the blog feed, please go there and subscribe. Also, sign up to be a member and automatically be entered to win prizes.

Hope to see you there.

Rob GB

Tune in Tomorrow

As promised — or warned — you can tune in tomorrow, December 22nd, to XM 155 at 6pm Eastern Time and listen to Fiction Nation on Take Five, where I blather on about my books and myself with the lovely Kim Alexander.

If that doesn’t work for you, don’t despair, you have more choices ahead:

Sunday Decmber 23rd at 10:00am,
Monday, December 24th at 3:00am — what a great Christmas Eve present!

You can also hear Fiction Nation on Sonic Theater, XM 163, on Thursday, December 27th at 3:00pm.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

rgb

RADIO RADIO

Yes, I’m alive. A miracle, isn’t it?

Just stopping in to share my first official radio experience as an author. Yesterday at exactly 4:30 pm Eastern time, I got a scheduled call from Kim Alexander of Fiction Nation on XM Radio for an interview. Kim had some great questions to ask and I managed to bumble my way through the answers — although Kim assured me I did just fine.

Except, of course, for the part where I forgot what one of my own articles was about (ELLE aka Enter Late, Leave Early) and had to be reminded. What an idiot. The segment is prerecorded, so hopefully Kim and her producer will be able to cut around that… :)

All in all it went pretty well, and I figure if I get a dozen or so of these under my belt, I should be able to breeze through it. Ha.

I’ll post the date and time of the broadcast. Until then — back to the salt mines.

Haunted

I don’t have any ghost stories.

Not the traditional kind, at least. There are no spirits lurking in the dark corners of my house, no monsters in the closet or under the bed. I lead what can generously be called a pretty humdrum life, a slave to the routines and rituals I’ve practiced for many years.

But I do have ghosts. Not the supernatural kind, mind you, but those all too real ghosts that haunt most of us from time to time. I’m often plagued by memories of people and incidents in my past, those sometimes tragic, sometimes embarrassing moments that I just can’t seem to let go of.

One of the memories that haunts me is my own insensitivity as a fifth grader, when I callously ripped up another student’s artwork after deeming it not good enough to be used in the school play. I’m not sure who that little bastard was, but it’s hard to believe he was me — and he certainly haunts me all these years later.

Another is the fumbling teenager who, in an equally insensitive moment, called up an ex-girlfriend (whose heart I had just broken) to ask her if her best friend had ever expressed any interest in me. The term asshole applies quite nicely to that particular memory.

These are the kinds of human failures that, while seemingly insignificant in the scheme of things, grab hold of us and never let go. That remind us of what we’re capable of.

Then there are the tragedies. Seeing my father lying naked in the ICU at his local hospital, machinery beeping around him as he struggled to stay alive. Running down to the parking lot to move the car, only to return and find him dead, looking like a wax doll, unmoving, unseeing, his body nothing more than an empty shell. Kissing him on the forehead and saying goodbye.

Or the young man who, at nineteen years old, had a promising life ahead of him, only to succumb to jaw cancer less than two years later. Seeing him on the last night of his life, looking very much like an old, old man, barely able to get comfortable in the Lazy Boy his parents had set up for him in front of the TV in their den. And later, watching his body carried away on a stretcher by two very somber paramedics.

These are just some of the ghosts that haunt me. Define me. The ones that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to shake.

And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I need these reminders from time to time to keep me grounded, to help me to remember to be kind to my fellow inhabitants of this planet, to cherish family and friends, to appreciate what I have while I still have it.

Yes, I know this is a pretty depressing post on what should be a fun day, but these damn ghosts just don’t want to leave me alone.

So I have to ask: what memories haunt you?

Update & Request

First, thank you to everyone for being so patient with me during this long absence. I truly appreciate those of you who still drop by to see what I’m up to, and don’t blame those of you who have decided to move on after so much silence.

As most of you know, book two is long done and I’m hard at work on book three. St. Martin’s has come up with some new ideas about the release of the second book and this will mean a delay until probably the fall of 2008. In the meantime, my story BOTTOM DEAL will be in the January release, KILLER YEAR: Stories to Die For, and the US paperback version of KISS HER GOODBYE will be coming out around April 30th.

Being a typical author, every once in awhile I go to the Amazon page to see what’s up, check if there are any new reviews, etc. But I’ve noticed that the number of Amazon reviews hasn’t changed in quite awhile. I suppose I could assume that nobody’s reading the book — but I know that isn’t true, based on the library and sales stats.

So, I have a favor to ask. If those of you who have read and enjoyed the book could take a moment to go over to Amazon and write your review, I’d appreciate it. You don’t need more than a few words.

Again, I appreciate your support. I promise that sometime in the next month or so, you’ll find a brand new, revamped website and blog.

Thanks!

Writing Out Loud


Kiss Her Goodbye in Paperback

Just popping in to say the UK paperback edition of KISS HER GOODBYE is in stores today. The good news is that my UK editor says that Walmart UK (ADSA) and WHSmith are giving the book a big push, which will hopefully translate to a lot more readers.

In the end, that’s all we really want. The money is great. Working in this industry is great. But it’s the readers who really count and, being a reader myself, I certainly hope I never lose sight of that fact.

By the way, book three is going great. Had a couple bumps, but a long drive got me over them.

See you on the other side…

Videorati

 

Something Special at Murderati

Rob in motion — sort of. And a contest! Check it out:

www.murderati.com

Battles and Browne are Back!

After a short hiatus, Brett Battles and Rob Gregory Browne are back with a brand new podcast.

Episode 4 — DEAD HOOKERS — features special guest and author of LOST DOG, Bill Cameron. Go to BattlesandBrowne.com to listen.

Now it’s Time to Say Aloha

I’m sure it’s abundantly obvious that I’ve been devoting very little time to the blog. There are number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that I’m working like crazy on book three, which I think will be a good one.

As a result, I’ve decided to take a break over the rest of the summer and will be coming back strong sometime in the fall or early winter. The site will have a new look, a new blog, and will hopefully be worth the wait to those of you who check back here often.

I want to thank all the many readers and your comments during the last couple years. I hope you’ve gotten as much out of sharing my experiences as I did.

If I should have a piece of news that I can’t resist sharing, I’ll post it here, but for now…. aloha. In the meantime, you can still catch me at Murderati every other Wednesday.

See you in a few months.

Thrillerfest

Okay. So here I am, on Thrillerfest day three — Saturday morning. It’s 7AM and I didn’t get to bed until three… but I seem to be functioning, somewhat. Although everyone keeps telling me I look tired.

But then I think I always look tired.

Last night was the St. Martin’s Press party and, as usual (like Bouchercon), it was packed to the gills and a load of fun. It was great to see Matt Baldacci again and I got to meet my editor, Marc Resnick. It’s nice to finally be able to put a face to the voice and we actually managed to squeeze in a few words about the trajectory of my career.

For the second time in the day, I ran into Greg Huffstutter, a great young writer who often comes to this blog.

Most of the Killer Year crew was there and we all stood, along with Lee Child and MJ Rose, for a group photo for Killer Year: A Criminal Anthology, coming out in early 2008.

A bunch of us attending are privileged to be represented by Trident Media Group’s Scott Miller, and we cut out of the party to get steaks and seafood at Michael Jordan’s restaurant in Grand Central Station. Great food, great conversation.

Then it was back to the bar, where I made the rounds, hanging out a bit with Scott, Brett Battles, Sean Chercover, JT Ellison, Chris Kuzneski, Tasha Alexander, Marcus Sakey, Elle Lothlorien, Phil Hawley, John Gilstrap and countless other talented souls, and some of us didn’t get out of there until the bartender turned the lights on and kicked us out.

Somewhere in there, Elle Lothlorien and I slipped away to a private room where the Thrillerfest band was rehearsing for the banquet tonight. Elle has taken on keyboard duties and was ripping up the room with the likes of Michael Palmer, Harley Jane Kozak, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, F. Paul Wilson and a bunch of other musically inclined authors. Since I won’t be attending the banquet tonight, it was nice to get a taste of what the attendees have in store for them.

Anyway, after the bartender told us to get lost, I stumbled sleepily up to my room where the wife and daughter were out cold after a long day of shopping and sightseeing in Manhattan.

And now, of course, here it is, seven in the morning, my eyes pop open and I’m ready for another amazing day….

Off to Thrillerfest

Well, the wife and daughter and I are flying to Boston, followed in a couple of days by a train ride to the Big Apple where they’ll be sightseeing, shopping and eating, while I hang out at the Grand Hyatt hotel with a boatload of fellow writers and thriller lovers for this year’s ThrillerFest.

Check my meet Rob page for details about my panel and signing.

If you can’t make it to ThrillerFest for a signed copy of KISS HER GOODBYE, you can still pick up one with my signature on it at the following bookstores:

M is for Mystery
San Mateo, California

The Mystery Bookstore

Westwood, California

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, California

Poisoned Pen

Scottsdale, Arizona

See you soon!

Catching Up

As I said a few posts back, I’m so busy working on book three, I’ve had little time to devote to blogging. I do have a bit of news, however.

I’m very happy to report that I have accepted offers on my next two books from my German publisher, Droemer Knaur, and have accepted an offer for book three from Macmillan, my UK publisher.

For those following the Battles and Browne podcasts, Brett and I have episode three up and running. We answer listener questions and discuss our writing processes. You can find it here.

I’m also looking forward to ThillerFest, which starts next week — but I’ll post again as it gets closer with details.

In the meantime, it’s back to the grind. Until next time…

The Serpent’s Kiss Escapes

Congratulations to blog buddy, Mark Terry, whose latest Derek Stillwater thriller, THE SERPENT’S KISS has been released. Here’s the blurb:

kissA terrorist calling himself the Serpent unleashes sarin gas in a Detroit restaurant during the breakfast rush, killing 52. Called in to “investigate, coordinate and evaluate,” Homeland Security troubleshooter Derek Stillwater finds himself assigned to work with FBI babysitter Jill Church.

The FBI doesn’t trust Derek and it’s Jill’s job to isolate him from the investigation. But when the Serpent contacts the press demanding a ransom or he’ll set off an even larger attack, Derek and Jill are on the frontlines of a race against time to prevent the next attack… and the one after that…

Congrats again, Mark! Looking forward to this one.

At Murderati Today

The title says it all…

A Quick Reminder

As I mentioned HERE, my friend and podcast partner Brett Battles’s debut thriller, THE CLEANER, drops today. Go to your local bookstore and buy a copy!

Thank You, Virginia & Jennifer

I want to thank Virginia for her recent email about Kiss Her Goodbye. I’d do it privately, but the email address she used is either not working — or simply doesn’t like me as much as Virginia liked the book.

Zach and KHGSo, thanks, Virginia, for the kind words.

I also got a comment from one of our regulars here, Jennifer, who says she’s sorry she missed the “send me a photo of my book” contest a few weeks back.

The photo on the left is Jennifer’s contribution: her son Zach, doing exactly what mom told him to do… :)

Thanks, Jennifer.

A Short Follow-Up

As a short follow up to yesterday’s retread, my wife tells me that instead of just asking authors if they are what they write, I should be asking the READERS in the crowd if THEY think authors are what they write?

If there’s a homophobic moron spouting nonsense in a book or story, does some part of you wonder if the author him or herself is homophobic?

If the details of a killing are especially gruesome, do you wonder if the author has a lust for blood?

Or do you even care?

Cannibalizing Myself

Before he became famous for writing novels like THE BIG SLEEP and THE LONG GOODBYE, Raymond Chandler wrote a bunch of short stories for magazines like Black Mask. If you read those stories, you can clearly see the development of his style and the beginnings of what would one day become the character, Philip Marlowe.

When he started writing his novels, Chandler did a bit of what he called “cannabilizing,” which was to basically steal from his earlier work and expand it.

What follows is a bit of cannibalizing. But without the expanding. In fact, it’s reprinted here exactly as is. And if you went to Murderati last week, you’ll surely recognize it.

Please forgive me. I’m smack in the middle of writing a new novel and blogging these days has become extremely difficult. I hope you understand…

ARE WE WHAT WE WRITE?

My wife is concerned.

“I think you should blog about it, Rob. See what other people think.”

She works in the office of a public high school. When it came time for my first book, KISS HER GOODBYE to be released, she was sure to let everyone at work know, and helped generate a huge gathering of well-wishers at my Barnes and Noble launch.

A lot of her colleagues came out and bought a signed copy of the book, and I was, to say the least, grateful. Grateful to all the people who showed up and, of course, grateful to my wife for getting them out there. No one could ask for a more exciting and successful launch (we sold every book in stock — close to sixty).

But, as I said, she’s concerned.

You see, there are parts of my book that aren’t exactly politically correct. Some of the characters, being bad guys, are vile, bigoted creeps. One in particular, a guy by the name of Bobby Nemo, treats women as sex objects, utters profanities, racist, sexist and homophobic slurs, and is generally not a very pleasant guy. The words that come out of his mouth, the things he thinks, are not pretty.

And this is what has my wife concerned. She worries that all those people who showed up to buy my book, all of those colleagues — people she sees day in and day out — will read the book with its slimy characters like Nemo and wonder what kind of man she married.

She’s afraid they’ll read the book and think that its characters and situations are a reflection of me, of the way I think and feel.

I remind her that I’m writing crime fiction, that the people who populate that world are not very nice, and that unless my characters think and speak the way criminals and cops think and speak, I won’t have much of a book.

I also try to point out that I’m just about the polar opposite of Bobby Nemo –

– yet she still worries. Her colleagues don’t really know me, she says. And what if they assume that I’m some sort of racist pervert. How embarrassing.

To complicate matters, she recently listened to my first podcast with Brett Battles — a podcast on creating characters (battlesandbrowne.com) — and I happened to utter the words, “all of my characters are me” as I explained my approach to writing.

And this is true. In a way, all of my characters ARE me. I’m like a method actor taking on a role, using details of my own life to flesh out each character I’m trying to portray. It’s something that can’t be helped. By using my own experiences, coupled with imagination, I’m able to create what I hope are very compelling, three-dimensional people.

That still doesn’t mean that Bobby Nemo ever, for even a moment, speaks for me.

I seem to recall the young Stephen King running into all kinds of trouble with his early books. Who is this guy? people wondered. He’s gotta be sick in the head.

But as we all now know — or at least assume, based on his appearances on various TV shows — Mr. King is a relatively mild-mannered guy who, like me, shares little, if anything, with the whacked out characters he creates.

Or does he?

All of this gives rise to a question: how much of ourselves do we consciously or unconsciously put into the people we create to populate our novels? Do our novels give us an excuse to allow our long suppressed emotions and beliefs to come out?

I can confidently so no, that isn’t the case for me. I just make stuff up.

But what about you? Are YOU what you write?