Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Am I "big-nosed and mushy?" See for yourself!

I've started watching this new show, The Following, with Kevin Bacon. It's about a serial killer (of course!) who uses literature as his guide and to lure followers to do his bidding. Edgar Allan Poe is his inspiration, no less. Cool idea.

Anyway, last night there was a scene where the bad guy, a writer, encounters an attractive older woman who was surprised at his looks. She says something like, "I thought all writers were big-nosed and mushy." It's James Purefoy, just so you know, a handsome devil if ever I saw one.

My first thought was, "Hey, lady, we're not all--" and then I thought, "Well, my sister used to call me 'big nose' and I'm way mushier than I used to be..."

But now you can answer that question yourself because I just had my first live TV interview, about AS SHE LAY SLEEPING.

It was a strange experience and I'm not sure I was at my best: no make-up, no warning what the questions would be, no meditation session beforehand. And yes, a couple of nerves; two, maybe three. Oh, I should add that I spent some time in the Green Room while waiting, a room painted white and red for some reason and no M&Ms or bottled water in sight. Maybe they break those out for the fancy guests.

Right, the interview. It was fun, and quick. Rather like. . . oh, never mind.   (You've probably never arm-wrestled a gorilla.)

Here it is:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Today is a lot more low-key than when The Bookseller came out, but it marks the release of my second book and first work of non-fiction. The book is called AS SHE LAY SLEEPING, and details my experience prosecuting a 25-year-old murder case.

One of the reasons that it's more low-key is how I feel about the book. I want as many people to read it as possible, of course, but that's because I want people to see what it is we do here (why I started this blog, as you know) and what it's like to get so deeply involved in a case like this. So much of these big cases is about the families of those involved and it's no surprise to readers here that I became good friends with the son of the victim in this case, a musician my age who turned out to be one of the most fun, interesting, and truly good people that I've met.

And it's because of him that I've decided that should I ever see royalties on the book, they will go to HAAM, the organization that provides "access to affordable health care for Austin's low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness." *

The writing of this book was never about making money for me, it was about telling an incredible story, one that featured a lot of fascinating (and sometimes bizarre) people. I hated that the victim, Natalie Antonetti, might be forgotten once the trial was over and the media returned to more mundane news stories. And frankly, I want my kids to read the book one day and know in detail about the most grueling and compelling case of my career (so far!).

Before I forget, here's the cover (click on it to go to its Amazon page):

I've been asked several times, so in case you had the same questions I can say that I had no input whatsoever on: the cover, the sub-title, or the reference to being a "best-selling author." The latter surprised me, but it turns out to be true: I was on BookPeople's bestseller list for December and am a number one best-seller for one of the Amazon sub-categories of mystery.

If you read the book, let me know if you like it. Perhaps via my Facebook author page, which is here. If you don't like it, well, I guess you can let me know that, too. :)

Happy Tuesday!

*Readers often assume that once a book comes out, its author begins rolling around in piles of cash. Writers know that's not true. Therefore, any musicians reading this need to continue to take their vitamins, exercise regularly, refrain from mixing their illegal drugs, stop double-fisting tequila, and use baseball mitts to catch baseballs, not their teeth. Likewise, administrators and fund-raisers at HAAM should continue their fine work in lieu of relaxing by their above-ground pool and acting like musicians re: the above-named vices.
Additionally, should this book somehow make a boatload of dollars I will retract this pledge with the sole purpose of paying off my and my wife's school debt. If you thought musicians were poor, you should see the debt carried by public service lawyers these days. We're like the federal government, but with good intentions.  Plus, musicians get to sleep in late.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year!

Granted, a few days late, but I was in Paris so you can't hold that against me.  Or maybe you can, doubly.

Either way, I'm back and hoping everyone had a marvelous Christmas and New Year.

So, Paris.  I was there to do research on Hugo Marston #3 (as yet untitled, despite what you may have read on my website!) and it was as inspirational a place as ever.

But.  One thing that shocked me was the number of people there who still smoke.  And not just the crusty old boys grumbling under their berets about "garcons these days."  No, it was so many young people, lighting up and puffing away, people in their 20s and 30s who should know better.  A friend who lives there now posited that the French have a "life's full of risks" attitude and that to them dying from smoking is a risk, not a certainty.  On verra.

Anyway, moving on.  The highlight for me was a tour of the U.S. Embassy.  Can't go into details but I met a couple of splendid chaps who gave me the lowdown on the embassy itself, and also the Department of Diplomatic Security, where my man Hugo works.  Utterly fascinating and the two gentlemen were very forthcoming.   I will tell you that the interior of the embassy isn't nearly as grand as I'd imagined (and described in Hugo #1).  As one of the chaps put it, it's a government office so looks like a government office.  A few grand spots here and there but overall not the wood-floored, mahogany-paneled luxor you might think.

One important aspect to the visit: neither of my hosts laughed their arses off when I told them some of the things Hugo gets up to in the books.

Probably just being diplomatic.  (Geddit?!)

I also paid a visit to Pere Lachaise, the wonderful cemetery where the likes of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried.  Here I am:

I have no idea whose crypt I'm posing next to, seems like I should.

In other news, THE BOOKSELLER seems to be hanging in there.  Sales in Austin are good, anyway, as I made the December bestseller list (fiction, paperback) at BookPeople, number six as you can see here

And the book made another bestseller list, over the holidays.  I have no idea how remarkable (or not) it is but I hit the number one spot in the Amazon category for "booksellers and bookselling."  Must be quite a few other books in that category, otherwise they wouldn't bother with a category at all, right?  Right??  Here's a screen grab, check it out:

That's all for now, just wanted to wish you all the best for 2013.  If it's as good as 2012, I for one will be very happy.