Clea Simon's Blog (78)

Blast from the past

If our lives are our stories, do we write the narrative?

I've been thinking about this as I prepare for – and dread – a big college reunion. What was I thinking I would do, back then? Who would I be? I know I wanted to write. But I didn't think, back in the day, that there was a job I could try for that would really let me do that. I could be a journalist, which wasn't exactly what I wanted. Or I could work in publishing, although a summer internship with a very sweet university… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on May 21, 2008 at 5:31am — No Comments

"Cries and Whiskers" is nominated!

Wow! Got home from the party at Kate's to find out Cries and Whiskers has been nominated for the David G. Sasher, Sr., award for best mystery of 2007. The "Davids," as they're known, were established by Deadly Ink, a mystery conference held at the end of June in Parsippany, NJ. I won't be there, but here's hoping! At any rate, it's very nice to be nominated.

Added by Clea Simon on May 16, 2008 at 3:29am — No Comments

Happy anniversary, Kate!

Today, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kate's Mystery Books. Owned and operated by Kate Mattes, one of the first directors of Sisters in Crime and the recent winner of a Raven from the… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on May 13, 2008 at 3:28pm — No Comments

Where do characters come from?

All cats are not created equal. While Cyrus was a quiet cat, the dignified, strong and silent type, Musetta is a little loudmouth. In fact, since we were just away for a week, she's been quite chatty. Some would say demanding. And last night, I realized something. More than the barristas at the local 1369 and Peet's coffeehouses, Musetta is the model for my spunky punk rocker Violet. ("Thank God she can't dye her hair purple," says my… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on May 6, 2008 at 1:50am — No Comments

Where's my beignet?

Wow, it's hard to get back to work. Just enjoyed a week of music, food, and, yes, mud, at and around the 39th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest. (Yes, it continues this weekend. You can tune in at WWOZ, the great local public station. (I'm listening now.) Check out this… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on May 2, 2008 at 6:54am — No Comments

The mysterious muse

One of the wonderful things that happens when the writing has gone well is that on re-reading you discover you were writing more than you knew. To explain, as I'm re-reading "Probable Claws," which is simply intended as a fun mystery, I'm realizing that the theme of commitment and its opposite, letting go, runs through it. I don't know what that means, but I've written it on a sticky and so now I see it every morning as I sit down to work.

And because we cannot control when, or whom,… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 23, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

How big is too big?

I've finished – at least I think I've finished – the first draft of Probable Claws. It's a little over 86,000 words. Is that too big?

Tomorrow I start reading it through to see if it makes… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 22, 2008 at 12:44pm — No Comments

Slightly overstuffed, but fun.

"A Carrion Death," Michael Stanley's debut, resembles its protagonist, Detective Kubu. Sensory overload, but in a good way.

Speaking of... I just had one of those marvelous moments that you writers will recognize. Partly, it's that I was coming back from the gym and the blood was flowing. Partly it's the combination of listening to vintage disco/'80s rock/New Orleans funk on my… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 16, 2008 at 3:08am — No Comments


Another cool frog story! You know I love my frogs and toads!

So, if this dude (Barbourula kalimantanensis) had a fight with the giant toad (Beelzebufo), who would win? What if the fight was… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 11, 2008 at 2:58am — No Comments

notes and notes and notes

How do you write?

I don't outline, really, but I do have a synopsis (partly because my editor demands one) and I usually start a book with a broad overview of how the story will go in my head. Despite these, I usually just sort of write, letting my characters sort things out between themselves, the plot resolution just a goal on the horizon, all subject to change. I do all of this on the computer. I type faster than I write and I love the clarity of type. I can read what I've typed… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on April 11, 2008 at 2:57am — No Comments

Remember that day, summer past?

Last night, the incomparable crime drama "The Wire came to an end. Some people got lost in the flood, some people got out all right. But one in particular breaks my heart. If you saw it, you know what I mean. Thoughts? (The… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on March 12, 2008 at 6:23am — No Comments

Of cats and names and rock 'n' roll

Brett Milano has done a lot of things in his life, many of which have to do with rock and roll and some with cats. So when I saw this stellar review of his new book,… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on January 15, 2008 at 1:48am — No Comments

Guest Blogger: Linda L. Richards

What’s in a name, anyway? This question came up for me again a few days ago, when Clea and I were making preparations for my visit here. At one point she said something like, “it’s a good thing the protagonist of your book is named Kitty, ‘cause she’ll feel right at home on my blog.”

And I laughed, of course, because it was funny and because Clea has the sort of witty energy that’s difficult to resist when she wants you to smile. But at the same time, I thought about what… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on January 9, 2008 at 3:49am — 1 Comment

Addicted to cats?

According to this article in the New York Times, there may be a biological basis for cat hoarding (not animal hoarding in general, but specifically cats). It cites the Centers for Disease Control talking about how the common parasite,… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on December 21, 2007 at 3:59am — No Comments

Thank you, RTE

Reviewing the Evidence has come to be one of the most respected crime fiction review sites, covering both US and UK books. And they can be critical. Therefore, I was overjoyed to see this review of Cries and… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on December 18, 2007 at 2:58am — No Comments

Is this kitty a killer?

Look at the book cover to your left. Look at that sweet little face, and tell me, is that the face of a killer?

Now, I write murder mysteries, but even for me that question might sound a bit odd.I mean, I’ve always promised my readers that no matter how many human bodies stack up, I will never hurt or kill a cat in one of my books. But make a… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on December 13, 2007 at 2:34am — No Comments

Doris Lessing gets it...

Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us - for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.

Thanks to… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on December 13, 2007 at 2:29am — No Comments

When your book comes out your life will change...


Well, that's what I used to think and it is what a lot of aspiring novelists think. And so, since I teach writing at the UCLA Extension School (yup, I'm in New England – I do it online), I blogged today on the UCLA Writers' Program blog about what it feels like when those boxes arrive – and what you can look forward to!…


Added by Clea Simon on November 28, 2007 at 8:37am — No Comments

CRIES AND WHISKERS is (almost) out

Hi folks,

I'm bursting. CRIES AND WHISKERS, the new Theda Krakow/Musetta mystery, is here! Well, my boxes have arrived, anyway. The advance press has been gratifying and the book should be appearing in stores (and Amazon, etc.) over the next few weeks. However, this is the gift giving season. So if you are interested and you'd like to make SURE you get your copy, or if you want an autographed and/or personalized copy for yourself or to give, please consider ordering from one of the… Continue

Added by Clea Simon on November 27, 2007 at 5:50am — No Comments

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