Monthly Archives: November 2008

Who Watches This Stuff?

Thanks to the enormous impaling-type metal object that I managed to run over yesterday, I’m spending this morning at an Acura dealer in Long Island getting a new tire, plus all the other stuff they said I needed while I was here.  Good news: they have wireless internet and a spacious waiting room with a flat-screen TV.  Bad news: the TV is currently set to Rachael Ray, with guest Rosie O’Donnell.  Remember when the government purportedly tried to torture Noriega by blasting hard rock music?  Well, I’ve got news for the Pentagon….this is far more effective.

Big fat cat

I’ll confess that big fat cats make me smile, but this article sickened me a little. God knows people have to struggle with weight, but why should pets? It’s not as if they have a bad day at work and then eat a bag of potato chips. They eat what they’re given and that’s it (well, except for when Duffer broke into his walker’s bag and ate an entire bagel…). My brother makes fun of me for worrying more about Duffer’s diet than my own, but I feel I owe it to him.

People love pets. In fact, I’ve gotten emails from readers scolding me because Samantha Kincaid is so irresponsible when it comes to poor little Vinnie. So how could anyone allow a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to eat “bread and butter, .. dried pigs’ ears, as well as chicken and dog food” so that “If he goes for a walk, he has to sit down half way through to have a rest”? Sad!

It’s cold!

It may not be officially winter, but it is officially freakin cold.  The Duffer (aka, Mr. Softy) was acting like a wussy baby in the wind this morning so I dug out the coat my mother got him.  Before I had a gourmet dog, I thought people who put coats on dogs were total tools.  Now I’m convinced my little freak is freezing if the mercury falls below 50.  Duff apparently doesn’t mind his coat at all because he climbed into his bed with it and won’t get up for me to remove it.   (And in the event you can see the black letters near the bottom, yes, it’s personalized.  And it has a reflective band around his “waist,” I guess in case he’s out walking by himself and the cars don’t see him.  Hey, at least I can say my mom bought it, not me.)

Books to Film

I received an email the other day asking if Ellie Hatcher or Samantha Kincaid would be coming to screens any time soon. Despite having an actual credible Hollywood agent and the usual conversations, I won’t hold my breath until film is in the can. The email did have me wondering why this is probably the most common question of authors. The person who asked me is a much appreciated reader of many many books, and in that context the questions is precisely that – a question about the status of my work.

But in other contexts the question carries other connotations. When Michael Connelly and I toured Quantico together (“Bobby DeNiro told me not to name drop,” whatever), we encountered a small group of people taking a tour. We were introduced and it was clear no one had heard of either of us. But when mention was made of a movie based on one of Michael’s books, suddenly he was a superstar. Of course, he actually is a superstar, but that’s not my point. My point is that his superstar status has nothing, or at least shouldn’t have anything, to do with his books.

Why do people (particular non-readers) use the book-to-film project as a proxy for success? Is it because they actually believe that any real book gets made into a movie? Is it because they want to know if you’re rich, and they believe (somewhat correctly) that authors only get mad cash through film deals? Or is it a secret way to change the conversation from something they don’t care about (books) to something we all love to dish about (celebs)? I know I shouldn’t think about this too hard, because people are just trying to make friendly conversation. But, seriously, why do friendly conversations always lead to this place?

Prof. Burke in DC

Today and Saturday I’m in DC for the annual national law school faculty hiring conference, otherwise known as the “meat market.”  Current and future law-profs descend upon the Marriot, hooking up for 30 minute interviews in which the first question is always, “So tell us about your current project,” and the last question is always, “What can we tell you about us?”  (OK, literally, the last question is then from the interviewee, who asks something like, “What support is there for junior faculty research?”)  Fortunately, we picked terrific people to interview so I learned a bunch of interesting stuff I didn’t previously know, the mark of a pretty good day.

But the entire process had me flashing back to that weekend eight years ago when I sprinted from hotel tower to hotel tower, repeating the short version of my job talk, answering questions both predictable and whack, and concluding with all the right questions.  Many of the memories are positive, like when the folks at Arkansas told me what the Clintons were like, or when the guy from Michigan told me my research was fascinating (didn’t get a callback, but, still, he was nice to say it), or when someone noticed the topic of my undergraduate thesis.  Unfortunately, it also brings back the bad memory of catching two profs at a top 5 school share a joint eye roll at my expense six minutes into a 30-minute interview.  Ouch!  
When people ask me about the pain of getting a first novel published, I always wonder if perhaps the process of starting my other professional life may have been worse.  In either case, I’m feeling extremely fortunate right now to be on the other side of the table.

New online review for Angel’s Tip

At Blogcritics Magazine, this reviewer says that “it’s Ellie’s chase, her constant battle to figure out the clues and to deal with her boyfriend’s betrayal, that really drive this story. You never forget that Ellie is a woman, a real person, in addition to being a homicide detective. Burke lavishes detail without overwhelming the reader, provides machine gun fire dialogue riddled with fun pop culture references, and challenges the reader to a blistering mystery rife with danger.”

History!

And in case you weren’t thinking about books yesterday, another noteworthy event of November 4?  Dead Connection was published in paperback.  If you haven’t yet discovered NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher, Dead Connection is the first in the series and a great place to start.