Comic-Con International: San Diego, Noir at the Bar: Queens, Casa Azul, Dark Circle and much more

It’s been a busy few weeks – to say the least! Here’s a rundown of what’s been going on and what’s coming up.

In addition to trying to finish up revisions on the second Pete book, Down the Darkest Street, things have been pretty nonstop at the day job, in case you missed it: Archie died and we announced some of the superhero comics I’ll be editing, via Archie’s superhero imprint, Dark Circle Comics.

I had the honor of reading a chapter from Silent City at Noir at the Bar: New York on 7/13 – thanks to Thomas Pluck for the invite. Always a pleasure to participate in those! Nice to see Todd Robinson, Reed Farrel Coleman, Angel Colon, Vncent Zandri, Barry Lancet, Jen Conley, Sarah Weinman, Ben Lieberman and Suzanne Solomon!

Upcoming: Happy to announce that there will be a Noir at the Bar: Queens on 8/7 at ODradek’s Coffeehouse and Wine Bar, 6-9pm. More details to come. Mark your calendars, though!

I’ll be reading from Silent City at the great Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, from 6-8pm on 8/14. Hope to see you there!

This week, I’ll be at the mother of all pop culture events, Comic-Con International: San Diego. If you’re at the show, feel free to swing by the Archie Comics booth – I’d be happy to sign any books (ARCHIE MEETS KISS, Silent City, Occupy Riverdale and more!) or chat for a bit.

Where can you find me, officially?

• I’ll be signing copies of ARCHIE MEETS KISS with artist Dan Parent on Friday from 12-1pm at the Archie Comics booth (#2842)

• I’ll be moderating the Archie Comics panel on Friday from 1-2pm in Room 4 – expect some fun reveals and $100 worth in free comics for all attendees! Expect a lot of Death of Archie, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and Dark Circle chatter!

• Last, but certainly not least, I’ll be participating in an amazing comics and music panel presented by Depth of Field Magazine on Saturday at 7pm. Formal PR below. DID I MENTION I WILL BE ON A PANEL WITH A RAMONE? Right. Panel description…:

Depth Of Field proudly presents “Comics And Pop Music!” at San Diego Comic-Con, July 26th at 7pm
this hour-long program brings together comic creators and musical innovators to discuss their work combining the worlds of music and comic books

On Saturday, July 26th, from 7:00-8:00pm, Depth Of Field Magazine is proud to present Comics And Pop Music!, a panel discussion at San Diego Comic-Con.  This program features an all-star selection of creators, publishers, and musicians discussing the historical ties between popular music and comics, the two forms’ shared passions and common inspirations, and how these two media continue to inform and impact each other in the 21st century.

Patrick Reed (editor of Depth Of Field Magazine) will moderate, and panelists include musical legend Marky Ramone (drummer of The Ramones, Grammy Award winner, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, Star of IDW‘s ‘Killogy’ series), Vivek J. Tiwary (creator of the NY Times-bestselling, Eisner Award-nominated ‘The Fifth Beatle‘), Chynna Clugston-Flores (creator of ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Scooter Girl’), Jennifer de Guzman (writer, director of trade book sales at Image Comics), Matthew Rosenberg (writer of Ghostface Killah’s ’12 Reasons To Die’), Alex Segura (VP of publicity for Archie Comics, author of ‘Archie Meets Kiss’), John Schork(director of publicity for Oni Press), and other special guests.

The panel runs one hour, and will be held in Room 28DE of the San Diego Convention Center.  

Talking SILENT CITY, “What I’m Reading,” upcoming events

A few quick things!

My latest Do Some Damage blog post is up, and it deals with the peaks and valleys of social media. Check it out.

Fans want access. Your friends want access. Read the Greenwald book and you’ll see the government wants access (to everything). It’s up to you to decide who gets what, if anything – and what you want in return.

Also, keep in mind: your information is yours. You don’t have to share everything or put yourself out there in detail. You don’t have to tweet about what you had for breakfast. I do sometimes, but that’s me. You don’t have to tell your fans what movie you just saw. But you can. In an age where everyone wants to know every thought we have, it’s OK to keep some things in reserve because you want to.

Also, you should read Hilary Davidson’s excellent essay on the same topic over at The National Post, too., titled “Sorry, but social media will not sell your book.”

I talked to the wonderful Oline Cogdill over at the Mystery Scene Magazine blog about Silent City, my comic book work and what’s in store for Pete.

Today at comic news site 13th Dimension, I run down what I’ve been reading lately, including LAZARUS by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, FATALE by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, LOVE & ROCKETS, AMERICAN VAMPIRE and novels by Reed Farrel Coleman, Kelly Braffet and more.

Last, but not least, I’ll be moderating a panel this Saturday at Enigma Bookstore in Astoria focusing on Latino Writers who write crime fiction. I’ll be joined by Lyn Di lorio, Richie Narvaez and Steven Torres. Starts at 7pm – swing by!

Another great SILENT CITY review, comics and events

So excited to see another great review for SILENT CITY, this time over at Craig’s Book-ends, where Craig T. McNeely had some really nice things to say:

“The characters are three-dimensional and feel real. Fernandez is one of the better protagonists I have encountered in a while. Segura is going on my shelf next to Mike Monson as someone I will blind buy in the future.”

In case you missed it, I’ll be writing ARCHIE #659, hitting comic shops in August, with art by the excellent Pat and Tim Kennedy. The story involves the gang turning into zoo animals. How can you resist? Plus, it features a variant cover by the amazing Mike Norton. So honored to be working on a book that sports this beauty on the front.

Here’s the solicitation info!:

A Riverdale Zoo field trip goes bonkers when Sabrina’s magical cat Salem mis-casts a magical spell, turning Archie and the gang into animals! Not only that, but they’re turning everyone they meet into animals as well. Can the gang escape the zoo and reverse the spell before they’re stuck in their animal bodies forever? Find out in “It’s Zoo To You”!

Script: Alex Segura

Art: Pat & Tim Kennedy, Rich Koslowski, Jack Morelli, Digikore Studios

Cover: Pat & Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Tito Peña

Zoo-Pendous Variant Cover: Mike Norton

Ship Date: 8/20

On Sale Date: 9/3

32-page, full color comic

$3.99 U.S.

Some event-related news, too: I’ll be signing copies of SILENT CITY this Thursday morning at the Mystery Writers of America booth (#2557) at Book Expo America from 10:45-11:15 with great authors Chris Pavone and Reba White Williams. Come by and say hello!

Also, early next month – June 7 to be exact – I’ll be moderating a panel featuring a great lineup of Latino crime writers at Enigma Bookstore in Astoria. Panelists include Richie Narvaez, Steven Torres and Lyn Di Lorio. We’ll be taking questions, talkin’ shop and signing some books. Details can be found here. You should definitely swing by – Enigma’s a great store going through a bit of a tough time lately, so they could use your help.

And as a final reminder, I’m still blogging every other Thursday at crime writer group blog Do Some Damage. Check out my posts here. But also do yourself a favor and subscribe to the blog – great stuff every day for the crime fiction fan.

Thanking people while Doing Some Damage

My latest blog at Do Some Damage went up to day. and it’s all about giving thanks to some great authors that have helped me as I welcomed SILENT CITY into the world. Here’s a sampling, but feel free to click through for the full piece.

Nothing is done in a vacuum – even something as solitary as writing a novel. That being said, I hate writing acknowledgements or thank-you posts. You always remember someone you’ve missed the second you post, print, whatever. But that’s what I’m doing here, so please humor me.

The idea to write about being grateful popped into my head as I wracked my brain about what to write this week. After a series of tutorials that while (hopefully) helpful, were about potential minefields in publishing, thanking some fellow writers seemed like a perfect palate cleanser.

Talking SILENT CITY with Broward New Times

I had the chance to catch up with an old college buddy of mine, Abel Folgar, last week. These days he’s a writer for Broward New Times County Grind blog – among other things. So, we got to chat about SILENT CITY, Archie Meets KISS and the band I’m in, Faulkner Detectives. It was a fun conversation and I’m still completely in shock about the amount of local coverage SILENT CITY’s gotten in the Miami press. As you might recall, the book got a great review in the pages of THE MIAMI HERALD and THE SUN SENTINEL before the new year, which just about knocked my socks off.

Anyway, here’s a snippet from the interview. Visit the site for the full piece!

Silent City is your first novel, and it is a solid crime novel, a Miami crime novel. What obstacles did you encounter in bringing Pete to life within the Miami you grew up in? As a native, do you find it hard selling Miami for its grim reality?

I just found that the perception of Miami is really skewed. A lot of people, when I mention I’m from Miami, just default to the Burn Notice/Miami Vice idea of it — palm trees, umbrella drinks, beaches. I wanted to write about the Miami I know and grew up in. There’s crime. There’s violence. There are good parts of town and bad parts of town. And you can go months without taking the time to hit the beach because you’re working or going to school or living your life.

Miami has a lot of stuff bubbling under the sunny exterior — culture clashes, shady politics, crazy criminals — you name it. I wanted to show that, but not in a TV movie way and also not in a, “Hey! Look! It’s Miami! We crazy!” tongue-in-cheek way either. I just tried to be as realistic as I could be while still telling an engaging story that took some artistic license. It’s a darker, seedier town, but still Miami.

The Blog Hoppy Thingie

The Who’s A What Thing?

Let me explain.

The very talented Kristi Belcamino tagged me. She answered some questions because she got tagged. Once I do the same, I will tag another crime author. It’s a fun way to follow a thread around the Internet and learn about some great writers. Cool? OK, let’s go:

What are you working on?

I’ve just finished a round of revisions on my second Pete Fernandez novel, Down the Darkest Street. After that, I’m working on a science fiction short story for an anthology titled APOLLO’S DAUGHTERS, a comic script and another short story featuring Pete as a guest star – for a competition and potential anthology inclusion. Also have a few pitches percolating, too!

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a tough one that I’m not really sure how to answer. My book is set in Miami and features a down-on-his-luck journalist named Pete Fernandez stumbling through a case that drags him into the darkest corners of the Miami underworld. I think my familiarity with the setting and the fact that Pete isn’t an established PI or cop is different, as are his motivations, which are pretty selfish and muddled due to his self-destructive habits. But I think a reader or contemporary is the best judge of this!

Why do you write what you do?

Because I have to. The stories stick in my head and I have to put them on paper. I really wanted to write a novel that featured a protagonist that wasn’t fully formed right away. Someone who made a lot of mistakes and was severely flawed. Someone readers could relate to but also worry about. I also wanted it to be set in my hometown and tell stories about people I knew growing up, which I don’t think is how Miami is usually represented.

How does you writing process work?

It’s very assignment-based. I try to write in the evening after work and over the weekend. I outline and try to work through my structure while still allowing for flashes of inspiration or luck. I sit at my dining room table and try to zone out all the noise and background craziness that is the world so I can focus on the work. It’s a challenge, but exhilarating.

Now, as part of this Blog Hoppy Thingie, I have to tag someone else! I have chosen Mystery Writers of America – NY Chapter Presidente Richie Narvaez, who’s a great writer and good pal. Head on over to his site in a week for his answers!

Born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Nuyorican writer Richie Narvaez has had work published in Murdaland, Indian Country Noir, Long Island Noir, Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens. His short story collection Roachkiller and Other Stories won the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology/Short Story Collection. He is the current president of the New York chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.

A short, sharp talk with Paul D. Brazill

Paul D. Brazill – a great crime writer you should all be reading – was kind enough to interview me over at his site about SILENT CITY, writing in general and what’s coming up. Here’s a snippet. Click through to read the whole thing. Thanks, Paul!

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

A few short stories, revising and finishing up my second novel, Down the Darkest Street, and hopefully finishing a draft of my third Pete Fernandez book, Dangerous Ends. I have a few comic book projects that I can’t announce yet as well.

Continuing to Do Some Damage and a few audio hits

The Day Job made some big news recently. In case you missed it, go here.

With that in mind, I did three interviews that involve you listening to my voice – one for local Seattle radio, a guest spot at Comic Book Club Live last Tuesday and another for top comic news site COMIC VINE. They let me ramble for over an hour – thanks, guys! All three are mainly about comics and the Death of Archie, but Comic Book Club and Comic Vine both allowed to chat a bit about Silent City and Down the Darkest Street. So, check ‘em out!

Also, last week I posted my third Do Some Damage blog post. This one touched on reviews and how to deal with them – good and bad. It’s a lesson I haven’t fully embraced myself, so I figured readers and fellow writers might get something out of my experience:

The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten about reviews came from a writer friend a few months before Silent City came out. I asked her – how do you deal with bad reviews? “I don’t read them,” she said. “Good or bad.” I thought this was amazing. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine anyone giving her a bad review, but also because on some level it felt really liberating – here was a way to just excise all the anxiety, fear and anger that comes with any kind of commentary on the work. It’s perfect!

Conversing about Comics and SILENT CITY at Comic Book Resources/Robot 6

Been knee-deep in revisions the last few days, so this is going up a tad late. But, in case you missed it, I had the pleasure of chatting with my old friend Chris Arrant over at Robot 6, the daily news blog of top comic book news site Comic Book Resources. Check out that fancy header!

Some of the questions discuss my day job, but there’s plenty of Silent City discussion going on, too – including a tease for the second Pete Fernandez book, Down the Darkest Street:

There’s a definite arc to Pete’s story – the second book, Down the Darkest Street, is a much, well, darker book. It explores the difficulty one faces when trying to improve yourself and the gray areas of life – relationships, your past and desires. Basically, it’s not easy – and it’s sometimes a series of peaks and valleys. By the end of Silent City, not to give too much away, the reader is left with a smidgen of hope that Pete will be OK. That’s demolished in the first page of Down the Darkest Street, and it gets worse from there.

March readings! I did them! (Plus Largeheartedboy ‘Book Notes’ and contributing to Do Some Damage)

What a week!

In addition to the day job, things were pretty hectic in book-land, with three events – all of which I outlined right here.

Big thanks to MWA-NY, Boundless Tales Reading Series and Noir at the Bar NYC for inviting me to participate in these readings. I had a blast, got to chat with some great author friends – new and old, including Richie Narvaez, Todd Robinson, Jason Starr, Hilary Davidson, Bryon Quertermous, Tim O’Mara, Scott Adlerberg, Kimberly McCreightAnthony Rainone, Jeff SomersAlbert TucherGeorgia Clark, Mandy Kelso, Sara Lippmann, Leah Zibulsky, Dave White, Terrence McCauley and Sweta Srivastava Vikram  – and read from not only Silent City, but the next Pete Fernandez book, Down the Darkest Street, too!

Additionally, that Silent City playlist I mentioned not long ago was spotlighted at one of my favorite blogs, Largeheartedboy. Not only did they link to the Spotify soundtrack to Silent City, but they let me riff a bit on why I put certain songs on the list, and how music influenced the writing process. Check it out, and bookmark the blog – it’s a great read.

The relationship between music and Silent City is front and center, from the first page on. It kicks off with a Dylan quote from “Idiot Wind,” which a dear friend of mine had described as her favorite song lyric ever, and which really encapsulated what the book is about – that sense of anger, rejection and desolation we all feel at one point or another toward a former lover or life itself: “I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.”

In addition to all that, I’m excited to announce I’ve joined the amazing crime fiction writer group blog, Do Some Damage as a regular contributor. You can find my musings on the site every other Thursday. My first post – about the hunt for an agent – went up a few weeks ago. So, expect a new one this week! Thanks to the amazing Steve Weddle for bringing me onboard!

So, right. How do you query your book to agents? Good question – and one that has no single, right answer! At least that I know of.
I’ve only queried crime fiction, so that’s what I’ll speak to.
My experience with having an agent is limited. I had one a while back and we parted ways – nothing bad, just wasn’t working, it happens – and I currently have one. But my situation – like anyone else’s – is unique, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.