Monday, May 17, 2010


I'm ever so excited to tell you that I have a guest post today from author Hilary Davidson. When I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn't attend the ROLLING THUNDER launch myself, Hilary offered to go. That's the kind of person she is, amazing to the core. And not just nice either. She's so talented. If you haven't had a chance to see her website, I encourage you to peruse it. Fascinating, fun. But set aside some time because there's gads to see.

O.k., I'm rambling. And we're going to hear a lot more about Hilary in the coming months because her debut novel will be released this year - THE DAMAGE DONE. But for now, let me turn the blog over to Hilary so she can tell you about Chris Grabenstein's release party for ROLLING THUNDER!

Chris Grabenstein is so friendly and low-key when you meet him in person that it’s easy to forget that he was once in the same improvisational comedy troupe as Bruce Willis (in Greenwich Village in the early 1980s). But when you hear him read from his work, his theatrical and comedic talents are immediately obvious. Guests at New York’s Mysterious Bookshop on Thursday, May 12th, got to see him in action as he read from his latest mystery, ROLLING THUNDER. This is his sixth novel featuring John Ceepak (and his 10th overall (and number 11 due out later this year), since he writes three different mystery series), and one that Chris wasn’t sure would see the light of day. After Carroll & Graf published his first three books, the company was sold and closed its mystery imprints. Chris moved to St. Martin’s Minotaur with a two-book deal, but his editor left the house soon afterwards, orphaning his books. As a result, Ceepak’s future was seriously in doubt.


Ironically, that uncertainty led Chris to take Ceepak in some new directions. In the Q&A after the reading, he revealed that his former publisher’s decision led him to write short stories featuring Ceepak, as a way to keep his much-loved character alive. The first of those stories, “Ring Toss,” appears in the June 2010 issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; a second story will be published at the end of 2010. Fortunately for Ceepak fans, Chris found a new home for the character at Pegasus Books. Chris’s new publisher, Claiborne Hancock, and editor, Jessica Case, were in the audience at the Mysterious Bookshop — along with his first Carroll & Graf editor, who remains a fan.


(Chris with his publisher and editor)

Chris answered questions about everything from his distinctive Day-Glo covers to Ceepak’s strict personal code. The question, and answer, that elicited the most laughter was about the use of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics in his books. “With the first book, they let me use the lyrics I wanted for $100,” Chris said. “The next book, it was $300. After a while, it went up to $1,000. I wanted to ask them How much money do you think I’m making from these books?” He also admitted that he now sticks to the two-line lyric-quote rule (since you don’t need to pay for that) and that he uses other tactics. As he pointed out, “You don’t have to pay for mangling lyrics!”

I can't possibly thank Hilary enough for attending the release party AND writing this great recap for us. Short of me being there with Hilary, this is the BEST! And many thanks to Hilary for her wonderful pictures as well. This time it is me experiencing the event vicariously and I'm so excited that Hilary gave me the chance to do just that.

And for those of you who have already told me you've read ROLLING THUNDER and saw my character, many thanks. Those of you who haven't yet, get your copies! I bet you can still get signed copies from The Mysterious Bookshop if you call them! The next time I have the chance to visit New York City, if I do nothing else, I plan to visit The Mysterious Bookshop!

Happy Reading!

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Chris Grabenstein May 17, 2010 at 6:56 AM  

Thanks for the wonderful write up Hilary. The second short story this year will not be a Ceepak tale but a ghost story for adults in the new Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kellner Anthology "Death's Excellent Vacation," which comes out in August. Thanks to you and Jen and everybody for keeping Ceepak alive. It's like you gave him CPR when he got stuck on a hill on a roller coaster ride!

bermudaonion May 17, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

What fun! Too bad you couldn't be there, Jen, but it sounds like you had a great stand in.

Mark May 17, 2010 at 1:23 PM  

Wish I could have been there. Chris needs to get back to Southern CA. I have several books I need to get signed.

Jen Forbus May 17, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

Maybe you could compromise, Mark! Chris will be in San Francisco for Bouchercon in October!

Laura @ I'm Booking It May 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM  

One more reason to go to Bouchercon! But how do I get him to autograph my download?

Thanks for sharing the news of the launch party. I really enjoyed Rolling Thunder.

Jen Forbus May 17, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

Laura, aren't the audios great?! I had Chris sign an Elephant Poo bookmark last year. He's very agreeable! He will probably even have a book mark he'd sign for you.

Definitely let me know if you go to Bouchercon!

Pop Culture Nerd May 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

What an amazing woman Hilary is. Congrats on your book launch, Jen! And I guess Chris deserves some credit, too.

Naomi Johnson May 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

Thanks, Hilary, for the excellent recap. I know Jen had to work hard to quell her envy.

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