Monday, June 30, 2008

We're Live!

The C.S. Graham website has finally gone live. You can visit at...

Since the "fun bio" on my C.S. Harris site has been so well received, we did a great one for Steve, too (and yes, he is years older than I am). "C.S. Graham" also did a radio interview last week that should be up as a podcast in a few days. And we have a photo tour of Archangel's New Orleans sites planned, but our expeditions to take a few missing shots keep getting rained out. One of these days it'll be there.

My web designer, Madeira James, is in my opinion the best around. She did my C. S. Harris site, and after that there was no question in my mind as to who we'd get to do the thriller site. If you're interested, take a look at her portfolio here.

Whew! What a relief to have all that done. Now I get to update the C.S. Harris site. Sigh.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Archangel's Publishers Weekly Review

The Publishers Weekly review of The Archangel Project is already out, and it's a good one. Here it is...

The Archangel Project
C.S. Graham. Harper, $7.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-135120-4
Vietnam vet Steven Harris and Candice Proctor (of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, written as C.S. Harris) write here as Graham and deliver rollicking good suspense. October “Tobie” Guinness is a navy vet of the Iraq War with remote viewing skills, meaning she can see into rooms from miles away. She can't hone in with complete exactness, though, and a viewing session unintentionally leads her to discover a conspiracy involving key defense industry and government personnel. They, in turn, quickly dispatch former special ops man Lance Palmer to “clean up” the situation. Jax Alexander is a CIA agent one mistake away from being fired, who goes down to New Orleans to investigate the death of Tobie's former professor and stumbles into the plot. Jax and Tobie run for their lives, trying to stay one step ahead of the conspirators, piece together the plot and eventually save the life of the vice president and avert an unjust war. Tobie, tormented by her gift, is terrifically capable and intelligent, while Jax is the consummate skeptic who still loves his country and believes in his job. The credible, fast-moving plot gives them ample opportunities to show off their skills. (Sept.) -- Publishers Weekly, 6/2/2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Writers Write

Writers write. At least, that’s what we’re supposed to do. But over the past month I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time doing other things.

To begin with, I’ve been reading galleys. For the uninitiated, galleys are photocopies of a book’s typeset pages. This is the author’s last chance to catch any mistakes—either their own, or those inserted by helpful copyeditors and careless typesetters. It’s always a nerve wracking and time consuming process, but when you have three books coming out in quick succession—THE ARCHANGEL PROJECT on September 30, the paperback of WHY MERMAIDS SING in October, and the hardcover of WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP in November—it can begin to feel as if it’s consuming your life.

And then there’s the new C.S. Graham website. Even though we’ve outsourced the actual construction and design, I still had to decide on the exact look I wanted, find the images to convey that look, plot the site navigation, and write the text. That all takes TIME.

And then there’s the week I spent filing. Okay, what was once an end-of-the year chore hasn’t been done since Katrina. But still. Being a writer generates enormous quantities of paper. Research notes and ideas for future books and royalty statements and contracts and transcripts of interviews and revision letters and on and on and on. I need a secretary.

Just when I was about to tuck back into writing, I was told Steve and I have to do a Harper Collins’ “Microsite”. This is an ambitious project to put up mini webpages for all of HC’s authors. Of course, these are constructed to a strict template, and the template is designed for one author, not two (despite the fact that HC has a surprising number of writing duos). Headaches, upon headaches. Not to mention pages and pages of cute questions that needed to be answered. Like, “What’s your favorite item of clothing?” Or, “What would your dream vacation be?”

It took me DAYS to come up with this stuff. Ironically, I learned some interesting things about my own husband in the process (“Your favorite food is grilled cheese sandwiches? Why didn’t you ever tell me that?”) But as I watched another week disappear without me writing one word on my book, I began to wonder, Is all this crap really necessary?

Of course, in addition to being a writer, I’m also trying to get my house ready to move my mom out of her house and into ours, so the past month has also included a fair amount of cleaning and painting and packing and laying floors.

Did I say, “writers write”? When?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Great Cover

The cover of WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP has been finalized, and it's wonderful...

Sorry I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm busy getting the new C.S. Graham website ready to go live, plus reading galleys and trying to get ready to move my mom into our house. Hopefully things will settle down soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Website!

We've been busy pulling together the new C.S. Graham website. The entire thing isn't ready to go live yet, but you can see the design at:

Take a look and tell me what you think!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

I really, really wanted to love this film. After all, the first and third Indiana Jones movies are among my all-time favorites, and the producers did a great job of approximating the style of the earlier films. Harrison Ford handles his gently aging role with aplomb, as does Karen Allen. But this installment stumbles badly, and I think the ways in which it stumbles have something to teach writers.

Warning: If you haven’t seen the movie, some of my remarks might be considered spoilers. But there’s nothing here I didn’t see coming a mile away. Which leads me to fault #1:

Predictability. You might say this is an inevitable product of the genre, but I don’t think so. Remember those great reversal moments in THE LAST CRUSADE, when Sean Connery uses his umbrella to send up the seagulls and crash the plane? When we learn that Dr. Elsa Schneider is working for the Nazis? That she slept with the senior Dr. Jones? Or in THE LOST ARC, when the evil Gestapo agent holds up his palm to say “Heil Hitler,” and we see that the imprint of Marion’s medallion was burned into his hand? The fourth installment has none of those moments.

Stereotypical characters. CRYSTAL SKULLS has a character who is sort of a compilation of Sallah, Belloq, and Schneider. Needless to say, he doesn’t work, and I had to look up his name before I could even remember what it was (Mac). I have read raves of Cate Blanchett’s depiction of her character, Irina Spalko. Perhaps she did the best she could with what she had to work with, but in my opinion, her character hit one evil note and held it through the entire movie. She wasn’t interesting, she wasn’t fun, she was just…a stereotype. Yawn. The interaction between Indie and the boy, Mutt, had some good moments, but I kept thinking they could have done so much more with it, while the bits with Marion were so hackneyed and clich├ęd they made me squirm.

Plot development. Nothing much happens in this movie. It felt like half of the screen time was taken up by one long chase through the jungle. And while it was fun at first, it eventually just felt…long. Plus, while it may be a Hollywood convention to have the bad guys shooting endlessly at the good guys and still missing, this scene was by far—BY FAR—the worst I have ever scene. It went beyond improbable or silly, and just became hopelessly contrived. And boring. Because if they’re that bad of shots, there’s no danger, right?

Plot holes. Where does one start? Like, why did the American government need an archaeologist to help them deal with an alien? Or, why were those conquistadores buried in a tomb with all their loot? I could go on and on and on, but I won’t because it would give too much away. All I’ve got to say is, They take twenty years to write a script, with the “best” people in Hollywood working on it, and they can’t do better than this?

But the most damning flaw in the entire movie was this: Lack of a powerful forward thrust. It could have been there—it should have been there—but it wasn’t. At one point—I believe it was when they were crawling around in the cemetery—I actually found myself thinking, “Now, what are they here for again? What’s the whole point of this movie?”


Monday, June 02, 2008

Never Say Never

I hope to get back to my discussion of plotting soon, but I’ve been busy this past week finishing our bath project. Our builder snagged major jury duty with less then a week to go on the project. Faced with waiting potentially forever, or finishing the room myself, I opted for DIMS.

After Katrina, when we couldn’t hire anyone to Sheetrock the house, I learned how to hang, float, and finish drywall. But once I finished my last room (if I remember correctly, the master bath), I said, “Never again!”

Never say never again.