Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Tough Tightrope of Translation

I’ve been translating a 300-page novel into a 120-page screenplay, which is roughly akin to turning a house into a Ferrari. The stuff you have to turn over, toss out, transmogrify and terraform, just to get the same story into the new mode, is Herculean.

UnknownSo today I stopped in mid-sentence to listen to some music. I write with soundtracks for movies playing in the background (Bryan Tyler, John Powell, James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino…) and I got to “Another Way to Die,” the theme from 2006’s “Casino Royale.” It’s written by Alicia Keys. And in the space of about 50 lines, she manages to encapsulate 50 years of James Bond films.

It’s one of the best examples of translating from one medium to another that I’ve ever encountered.

I’ve decided to stop whining about my job.


Another ringer with the slick trigger finger
For Her Majesty
Another one with the golden tongue
Poisoning your fantasy
Another bill from a killer turned a thriller
To a tragedy



A door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in your eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Or someone that you think that you can trust
It’s just
Another way to die

Another tricky little gun giving solace to the one
That’ll never see the sun shine
Another inch of your life sacrificed for your brother
In the nick of time
Another dirty money heaven sent honey
Turning on a dime


Another girl with her finger on the world
Singing to you what you wanna hear
Another gun thrown down in surrender
Took away your fear
Another man there he stands right behind you
Looking in the mirror


It’s just another
It’s just another
It’s just another way
Shoot ’em up, bang bang
Hey Hey
It’s just another
Yeah Yeah

Bang bang bang bang

Getting Ready for Bouchercon!


I am heading to Bouchercon!

The annual World Mystery Convention takes place this year at Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 13 to 16. Can’t wait.

Here’s the thing about Bouchercon: It’s for writers of mysteries and thrillers, yes, but it’s mostly for the fans and readers. It’s the event at which average readers get to walk up to their favorite authors and chat with them about their combined love of this genre. It’s great! Every year, I see first-time attendees schmoozing with Lee Child or Sue Grafton or whomever. And it’s pretty clear that the writers love it! That’s the reason we go.

My first Bouchercon was decades ago in San Diego. I was up for a Best First Mystery, and this very nice, older woman stopped to congratulate me. We chatted. She asked where I was from, and how I got started writing, and who I’d seen at the convention. She was just incredibly sweet. She asked my name. “I’m Dana. And you’re…?”

“Marion,” she said, and shook my hand.

It was Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the giants of the fantasy and science fiction genres. The author of dozens of novels.

And, for me, THAT’S Bouchercon. And always will be.

On the Stump

Really excited to take part in the Stumptown Lit Book Fair, sponsored by the Oregon Writers Colony!

Director ParkThe event takes place this Sunday, Oct. 19, at Cheatham Hall of the World Forestry Center. The Book Fair runs from noon to 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The schedule includes a publishing workshop from 9 to 11 a.m., children’s story times, and a gala reception for none other than best-selling author Jean Auel from 6 to 8 p.m.

I’m among the list of readers. I’ll be there around 2 p.m.

Phil Margolin will be among the guests at Stumptown.

Phil Margolin will be among the guests at Stumptown.

Others include Stevan Allred, C.B. Bernard, Barbara Drake, Ed Edmo, Elizabeth Enslin, Susan Clayton-Goldner, Phil Margolin, Rosanne Parry, Paulann Petersen, Mark Pomeroy and Daniel Wilson.

What a cool event. Don’t miss it.


%d bloggers like this: