Friday, September 30, 2011

Ten Reasons Not To Write Your Novel

From The Huffington Post

Will Weaver Author, The Last Hunter: An American Family Album
Ten Reasons Not to Write Your Novel
Posted: 9/29/11 04:49 PM ET

1. Just because you speak English does not mean you can write English. Your boss is proof of that.

2. Someone has already written your novel, and better than you ever could. Certainly you've visited a bookstore, picked up a new release novel the plot summary of which filled you with loathing. "That's the idea I had," you mutter. See? What did I tell you?

3. And any way, the best novels are not about plot -- they're about good writing. Which you are not. That is to say, well, you get what I mean. I hope.

4. Writing a novel is way more work than you think (or remember if you've already written a novel). It's like building a house: you start with excavation and mud and rocks and groundwater you hadn't counted on, continue with dubious characters who seldom show up at the right time, nothing turns out exactly like you had in mind, everything is over budget, and it takes months if not years to finish, by which time you hate the place.

5. Instead of writing a novel, why not focus on, say, sex? Imagine that you give your wife, husband or partner the same amount of attention that you lavish on this, this idea -- these voices that you can't get out of your head. Imagine what perfection you would attain in the sack! Think of how heroic and loved you would be!

for the rest go here:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Forgotten Books The Handle by Richard Stark

The Handle

Hard to know if a book was a fairly easy go for the writer or if it drove him to drugs and drink. I hope The Handle by Richard Stark was a pleasure for Donald Westlake to write because it sure is a pleasure to read.

The Organization has decided that it's tired of this German guy running his big casino on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. He's beyond the jurisdiction of the Feds and it's unlikely Cuba will do much about him. Thus Parker is hired to take the casino and its other buildings down--literally. To blow them up.

Now while The Handle is every bit as tough as Dick Cheney's heart, the hardboiled aspect is played off against the sorriest group of human beings Parker may ever have had to work with. And the sardonic way Westlake portrays them had me laughing out loud at several points.

Take your pick. There's the alcoholic hood who talks as if he's auditioning for a Noel Coward play; the mob gun dealer who had to quit drinking several months ago and has increased both his cigarette intake (four or five packs a day) while maintaining both his cancer cough and his enormous weight; the pedophile who turns out to be a ringer sent to spy in Parker and his friends; the Feds who are so inept both Parker and Grofield play games seeing who can lose their tails the fastest. And then there's the the married Grofield, Parker's professional acting buddy, who never passes up a chance to impose his charms on willing women. In this case he endeavors to put the whammy on the very sexy blonde Parker himself has been shacking up with. Isn't that called bird-dogging?

And then we have Baron Wolfgang Freidrich Kastelbern von Alstein, the man who owns the island and the casino and who, over the years, has managed to make The Third Man's Harry Lime look like a candidate for sainthood. Westlake spends a few pages on the Baron's history and it becomes one of the most fascinating parts of the book, especially his days in Europe during the big war.

The book is filled with the little touches that make the Stark books so memorable. My favorite description comes when Parker and the sexy blonde sit down to a dinner that Westlake describes as "viciously expensive."

A fine fine novel.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Night and The Music - The Matt Scudder Stories

Ed here: I'm having computer problem so can't send the links. You can find them at the end of the letter. Here's from Larry Block What can I tell ya--it's Matthew Scudder.

Lawrence Block:

Well, I didn't do a very good job of retiring, did I? GETTING OFF, just released September 20, was my fifth new book of 2011, following on the heels of THE LIAR'S BIBLE, THE LIAR'S COMPANION, A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, and AFTERTHOUGHTS.

But wait, there's more...

It's my great pleasure to attach both a Kindle-ready .mobi file and a PDF of THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC, a collection of Matthew Scudder short stories, which I'll be self-publishing in early October.

I've been writing novels about Matt Scudder since the early 1970s, and he's turned up in novelettes and short stories for almost as long. THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC contains the nine stories I've published over the years, along with two new ones; "Mick Ballou Looks at the Blank Screen" appeared only as the text of a 100-copy limited broadside, while the elegiac "One Last Night at Grogan's" was written this summer, specifically for inclusion in this volume, and has been published nowhere else.

When I told my friend Brian Koppelman about the book, he immediately volunteered to write an introduction. Brian's a screenwriter and director ("Rounders," "Knockaround Guys," "Solitary Man," Ocean's Thirteen"), and I think you'll be touched by his account of discovering Scudder at age 15. I know I was.

And the book closes with (what else?) an author's afterword, detailing some of the circumstances of the writing and publication of each story.

I'm genuinely excited about this book, not least of all because I'm publishing it myself. The good people at Telemachus Press have done the heavy lifting, making sure it's perfectly formatted and professionally put together, but it's my baby.

And I've been uncommonly discreet about it, so it's a fair bet that you're hearing about it for the first time in this email. In a week or two I'll be blogging and tweeting like crazy, doing what I can to spread the word far and wide, but first I wanted to send you a copy in the hope that you'll be moved to review it. You've been wonderfully generous to me in the past, so you have only yourself to blame for having this turn up in your mailbox. And I can only hope you'll like it, and want to tell people about it.

Some specifics: It's available as an eBook, for sale on all major platforms: Kindle, Nook, Apple, and all those served by Smashwords. The eBook price is $2.99.

It's also offered as a Print-on-Demand paperback @ $14.95. A handful of select mystery booksellers will be able to furnish signed copies, and I'll also offer signed copies at my website bookstore.

Otto Penzler loved the book, and he'll be doing it proud, with one of his deluxe leather-bound hardcover first editions, limited to100 signed and numbered copies, for sale (while they last) @ $150.

When I read THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC all the way through, it struck me that it's very much of a piece with the seventeen novels, so that it could fairly be considered the eighteenth book in the series—one I began writing in the mid-1970s and just completed this summer.

Because "One Last Night at Grogan's" brings Scudder's story up to date, one might see it as a coda to the series. Will there be more stories? More novels? I really don't know. It's never been given to me to know what I'm going to write next, and the several times I thought I was done telling Matt's story I turned out to be (like Bogart in Casablanca) misinformed. So we'll have to let time tell.

I'd cut this short, but it's too late for that, isn't it? I hope you enjoy this early look at THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC, and that you'll help let the world know about it.

I'm attaching a jpeg of the cover as well. The ISBNs, if you need to know them, are 978-1-937387-310 for the eBook and 978-1-937387-32-7 for the paperback And if you're inclined to do an email interview, just send your Qs at your convenience.


Lawrence Block
Twitter: @LawrenceBlock

"Don't you wish you had a job like mine? All you have to do is
think up a certain number of words! Plus, you can repeat
words! And they don't even have to be true!"
—Dave Barry

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


From Cinema Retro today:


By Lee Pfeiffer

Retro movie lovers may remember way back to the 70s and 80s when Gary Busey was a respected actor. He was even nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Since then, he's been primarily defined by his quirky personal life. Busey was among those who protested California laws that mandate wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Ironically, in 1988 Busey was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered brain injuries that might have been prevented had he been wearing a helmet. Now Busey is down to scrap heap level work: appearing on the TV program Wife Swap in which D-list "celebrities" switch households and live with each other's wife. It gets better: Busey is "swapping" with the wife of disgraced clergyman Ted Haggard. Haggard is yet another "family values" hypocritical holy man who railed against homosexuals and gay rights- until it turned out he had been seeing a male prostitute. (Admittedly these types of scandals usually involve homophobe elected officials who are secretly engaging in gay sex.) In saner times, that would have been the last we'd have heard from Haggard but in today's world bad behavior reaps big financial rewards so Haggard now has another career as a reality TV star. Maybe the wives of Busey and Haggard can find an appropriate niche for themselves on The Biggest Loser.

Monday, September 26, 2011

TV Stuff-Boardwalk Empire; The Office

I watched about twenty minutes of Boardwalk Empire last night and switched channels. Boardwalk is one of those series I liked without feeling attached to any way. I'm a big fan of Steve Buscemi but still say he was mis-cast in this. And while the entire cast offers memorable performances the souped-up crafting and pacing of the show tends to make my eyes glass over. Last night we were introduced to so many different characters and plot points a feller could get whiplash just jerking scene to scene. The more serious flaw is that I don't believe any of it. Not a minute. The writers and directors are so dedicated to shock and crisis that there's no air, no grace notes (except when they laboriously signal HERE COMES A GRACE NOTE) and thus no believable (for me) humanity. A lot of fine people involved in what could have been a triumphant piece of television.

-----The Office

James Spader was so cool in the final episode of last year's The Office but when he returned this year the writers clearly didn't know how to play him. Now The Office was once a show I was really attached to. What writing, what a cast. But I'm afraid it's lost its way as has been obvious the past two or three seasons. Michael Scott was the only thing holding it together. When you watch how they wrote Jim in the season's opener (unlike any "Jim" we'd ever seen) you know how far astray the writers have gone. I imagine this'll be the last season. I say this with no pleasure at all.

A shout-out to my friend and fine writer Brian Keene-recovering

In The Words of Billy Joel…
Sep 18th, 2011 by Brian.
…working too hard can give you a heart attack, ack ack ack ack. You oughta know by now.

And if you follow me on Twitter, then you know that’s what happened to me last Friday. According to my doctor, had I not been in good shape, and had I not swallowed three aspirin before going to the hospital, it would have been much worse.

The aftermath is easy enough to deal with. Medicine, more strenuous exercise, and a stricter diet. Less booze. No more cigars, 24 hour writing marathons or worrying about deadlines. Most importantly, less stress.

As I lay in the hospital, I worried about all kinds of things. If I died, had I told my sons I loved them enough times? Had I told my friends and the rest of my family the same? Did my cat and my hermit crabs have food, or would they starve to death before somebody found them?

The one thing I didn’t worry about was my literary estate, and what would happen to my rights or my work after I was gone. I wrote about this here back in 2008, and linked to this Blog entry by Neil Gaiman. It remains the most vital and important piece of writing advice I know, so I’m linking to it again today. If you are a writer, you need some form of legal document outlining your affairs in the event of your death. It doesn’t matter if you are an unpublished beginner or an old pro with forty mid-list paperback novels to your name. Set up a literary estate today.

It’s very strange. Horror writers (and crime, mystery, thriller and even fantasy and science-fiction writers) spend a lot of time thinking about death, but we rarely think about our own. You never know when it will happen, or how. When I woke up Thursday morning, I certainly wasn’t thinking about it. The only things I was thinking about were playing with my youngest son, finishing John Hornor Jacob’s wonderful debut novel, Southern Gods, and doing some writing that evening. Then… BAM. Luckily, I’m still here. But it could have easily turned out differently, and if that had happened, my estate is in order. I know who the rights and copyrights get assigned to, who oversees the publication of my work and processing of payments, who makes sure that the money goes to my sons, etc. You should too, regardless of where you are at in your career. So, again, read this Blog entry by Neil. Follow the link he posts in it. And take a moment to get your affairs in order.

Harry Shannon CLAN; David Bell CEMETERY GIRL

Harry Shannon’s CLAN – a thriller and horror novel – 99 cents for a few days only
CheapreaderSunday, September 25th, 2011 @ 10:00pm0 comments (ED here: I really enjoyed the novel--Harry's an excellent writer)

Harry Shannon’s new novel CLAN has been marked down to 99 cents for a few days only!

They have been among us for thousands of years. One mysterious gene they carry lies dormant—until they change.
Joe Case is an ex-cop searching for the man who humiliated his sister. Kelly McCammon is a Hollywood executive running from the Russian mob.
Destiny leads them to tiny Salt Lick, Nevada…A town under siege. Buy this thriller with a bit of horror today for only 99 cents – the price will increase soon.

for the link go here:



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Learning To KIll

Here's a review I ran a few years ago. I'm re-running because last night I picked the collection up again and read two hundred pages before turning off the light and going to sleep.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Evan Hunter, Ed McBain and Learning to Kill.

A year or so before he was diagnosed with cancer, Evan Hunter seemed intrigued by my idea of doing a massive collection of some of his earliest tales. Intrigued enough, anyway, to have somebody make copies of sixty-some stories and send them to me.

The stories covered virtually every pulp genre – crime, western, adventure, science fiction, horror – done under seven or eight pen-names.

We had everything ready to go when Evan had second thoughts. There were just too many of these stories he didn’t want to resurrect.

In Learning to Kill (Harcourt, $25) Evan and Otto Penzler have brought together the very best of those early stories in a stunner of a hardback package. This shows you how early Hunter was a master of both form and character.

The stories are divided into categories: Kids, Women in Jeopardy, Private Eyes, Cops and Robbers, Innocent Bystanders, Loose Cannons, Gangs.

He wrote well across the entire spectrum of crime and suspense stories, so well in fact that several of these stories are true classics that will be reprinted for decades to come – “First Offense,” “Runaway,” “The Merry Merry Christmas,” “On The Sidewalk Bleeding” and “The Last Spin” aren’t just for readers. They’re also for writers. These particular stories yield great insights into use of voice, plot, character and milieu. I could teach a full semester of writing using just those stories I mentioned.

Hunter/McBain was one of the two or three best and most influential crime writers of his generation. Otto Penzler has paid tribute to that fact with this hefty and important contribution that belongs in every mystery collection.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Talk about old business: Gunslick Territory

Ed here: A western reader wrote to ask me to clarify this story. I could have consulted my old web page if the webmaster had informed me that I owed money to the web service, something he was "going to take care of." I d searched and came up with this from a very good Thrilling Detective (what a great website) bit on the matter. This is real inside baseball stuff for western writers (and fans of Brian Garfield like me) but I love stories about pulp publishing and this certainly qualifies.

Comment: Brian Wynne was the pen name that Brian Garfield used to write a series of eight highly regarded western novels about Marshal Jeremy Six of Spanish Flat, Arizona. According to a posting by Fred Blosser on Ed Gorman’s blog, when Garfield said good-bye to the series, Ace attempted to continue it with another writer, whom Fred does not name, but who was Dean Owen. Gunslick Territory was packaged as the ninth in the series, but according to Fred, it is “notably inferior to Garfield’s novels.” [Reference: April 24, 2004, but the blog is no longer online. A Google search for a cache of the original webpage can be used to locate it. Fred’s source is a telephone interview he taped with Brian Garfield in 1997. ]

Update: Here is the complete story, as far as the truth will ever be known, as related by Brian Garfield in an email to Steve on April 11, 2006:
I don’t know if there’s ever been a primary published source for the fact that Dudley Dean [Owen] McGaughey wrote Gunslick Territory. If Donald A. Wollheim were still alive, he’d be the truly primary source. Even as (an unwilling) participant in the events, I wasn’t an actual witness to McGaughey’s employment to write the novel. It was Don Wollheim who told me he’d hired McGaughey to write the book.

After exchanges between my lawyers and Ace’s lawyers, Don Wollheim said he’d been under the mistaken apprehension that Ace Books owned the Jeremy Six series and characters – that the books were a “house” series. They weren’t. By terms of the settlement, Ace allegedly dropped Gunslick Territory from its list after its first round of distribution. I say “allegedly” because I know Ace reprinted it at least once AFTER the settlement. I didn’t take them to task for it because our mutual friend Bill Cox told me that McGaughey was getting old, needed the money, and had written the book in good faith. I couldn’t ask him to suffer for something that wasn’t his fault.

There was no malicious conspiracy. The thing was a matter of silly mistakes. I’ve never claimed authorship of Gunslick Territory. They’re my characters, but the story properly belongs in the Dudley Dean bibliography.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Max Colllins; Drive

Ed here: Last night Al Collins and I had the kind of phone talk we used to have many years ago. A lot of fun. Then today I was leaving Half-Price Books and I saw Al in the parking lot. He and Barb were here from Muscatine (fifty minutes away) to do some shopping and have a meal and go to a movie. We talked for maybe ten, fifteen minutes (Al holding a heavy box of books all the time--I'm into torture) and one of the topics was the movie "Drive." Here's a piece from Salon noting the the disconnect between the critics who loved it and the audiences who hate it. (BTW A couple readers asked me about the advice Al gave me thirtuy-some years ago when I wrote (and finished) my first novel. 1-write straight on through without pause to the end. Worry about polishing ti after you've got an entire first draft. 2-Treat every chapter like a short story. Still the most useful writing advice I've ever had.)

The "Drive" backlash: Too violent, too arty or both?
The Ryan Gosling thriller has great reviews but dreadful word of mouth. Salon writers discuss what went wrong

Ryan Gosling in "Drive"
Thomas Rogers, Salon editor: So there seems to be an audience backlash against "Drive," a movie that you and a lot of other critics have been very fond of. It had decent opening weekend numbers (about $11 million, good for No. 3 on the charts), but the problem with the movie seems to be word of mouth: Basically, people hate it. It might have something to do with the fact that it's being advertised (at least on New York subway platforms) very ambiguously, with lots of glamorous photos of Ryan Gosling and Christina Hendricks, in a way that says very little about what the movie is about. People show up expecting a glossy sexy movie about a man driving a car, when in reality it's basically a hyper-violent European art-house movie that offers little in the way of car chases or romance. That's one way of thinking about it, but I honestly think the bigger problem is that this movie is too gut-churningly violent.

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon film critic: I suspect it's really a combination of both of those things. It's both too elliptical and too violent, and it may have been positioned incorrectly in the marketplace. This is a movie tailor-made for contemporary American critics, who are steeped simultaneously in the culture of Eurocentric art-house movies and in Hollywood B cinema of the '70s and '80s, all the stuff that inspired Quentin Tarantino. Although I have argued forcefully that "Drive" is not "Pulp Fiction," for a whole bunch of reasons, there's no denying that it belongs to a similar tradition. But the thing is, the general public really doesn't share that peculiar combination of rarefied and populist taste, you might say. And "Drive" may seem quite mysterious to many people. It isn't really much of an action film, even though there is considerable violence. The hero and the girl never get it on, and barely even kiss. It may be the most chaste and sexless R-rated film in history. It has, let's just say, a highly indeterminate conclusion, with the fate of the protagonist very uncertain.

T.R.: Based on my own experiences, and the experiences of other people I've spoken to who've seen the film, I do think the biggest word-of-mouth problem for the film is the many, many horrible things that happen to people's throats, hands, eyes and heads in it. The way I describe it to people, and the way other people have described it to me, is that "Drive" is a very good movie that I never, ever want to see again. I should disclose that I have a very low tolerance for both fork-related violence and eye-related violence, and that this movie happens to combine both of those things in a very unpleasant way at one point. But I saw the movie in a sold-out screening in New York, sitting next to two 19-year-old women who, based on their chatter, went to see it because it had Ryan Gosling in it. By the time the first person's head exploded, 45 minutes in, they just started traumatically screaming, which echoed my own internal experience. I guess the question becomes, though, what makes this movie's violence more unpalatable to audiences than, for example, the violence in the "Saw" movies, which tend to do fairly well at the box office?

for the rest go here:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Rebel Without A Cause you DIDN''T see

Ed here: I'd lost interest in James Dean over the years. His movie acting now struck me as labored and self-conscious and all the mythology about him overwrought. But last night I watched the cable documentary based on the lat five years of his life and he became interesting to me again. A sad strange guy and a real loss.

Then by coincidence, not at all looking for it, today I ran across this article about some of director Nicholas Ray's original plans for Rebel Without A Cause. Here are pieces of the long New York Times article by

Reclaiming Causes of a Filmmaking Rebel

Published: June 16, 2010

When Nicholas Ray, the pathbreaking filmmaker and director of “Rebel Without a Cause,” died from lung cancer in 1979, he left behind a substantial collection of artifacts that had never, or rarely, been seen. There is, for instance, the original typed treatment for “Rebel” with a bizarre twist that had Plato (played by Sal Mineo in the 1955 film) shoot Jim (James Dean) and commit suicide by falling on a live grenade.


“Rebel Without a Cause,” an emblem of adolescent disaffection, was his best known work. Though the grandiose ending in the treatment was scrapped, a series of 8 ½-by-11-inch storyboards — 53 of them — on which Ray scribbled notes in red ink about dialogue changes and camera positions reveal that his ideal finish was still different from the one that thrilled audiences.

Ray planned to have Plato shot by a sharpshooter from the roof of the planetarium. A close-up sketch of Dean’s face as he hangs onto a ladder and watches the body plummet head first shows the dramatic tension Ray sought to capture in the final frames.

Michael Chaiken, a film archivist, said this ending would have been much more expensive and difficult to shoot, and so Ray changed it at the last minute. Mr. Chaiken is working on the sale of the Ray material with the New York rare book dealer Glenn Horowitz.

for the entire article go here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Max Allan Collins Day

I want to apologize for not being able to post the covers of the following books. For reasons only the darkest of computer gods understand every time I try to copy graphics I get kicked off line.


I had the privilege of reading True Detective, the first Nathan Heller novel, in manuscript. I was stunned by its reach and power and having reread it within the past year I can honestly say time has only improved it.

Right now you can read the first Nathan Heller on Kindle for only 99 cents. I'll have more to say about the series below but grab this bargain while you can. It is now #1 on Kindle bestsellers if that tells you anything. #1 !!!!!!!

Buy it here:

Forgotten Books: Chicago Lightning by Max Allan Collins

Technically this book is brand new but since the some of the stories in Chicago Lightning date back as far as 1984 I think it qualifies for this particular post.

I need to say up front that Max Allan Collins was my teacher in my transition from short story writer to novelist. I'd started and given up many novels before his advice finally took hold and I finished and sold one. During this period I studied (outlined and read and read again his books) as a guide for my own. Al (which most people call him) has written more successful series than anyone I'm familiar now or in the past. Nolan, Quarry, Mallory, Ms. Tree, Elliott Ness and even more. The first three I practically memorized in trying to learn how to write my own books. This wasn't any kind of forced march. I still reread them all today. They're that good. And that enjoyable. Al is first and foremost an extraordinarily skilled storyteller.

But Nathan Heller is my favorite of all his protagonists. First of all consider how unique the Heller saga is in the history of crime fiction. Here we have the first and finest merging of the private detective and historical novel. Collectively they are a history of headline America in the past century. Each Heller novel resonates far beyond its main story. Readers are given a real sense of the various eras the novels take place in. An amazing accomplishment.

Chicago Lightning collects the Nathan Heller short stories Here we meet such imposing historical figures as Mickey Cohen, Frank Nitti and Thelma Todd. All the stories are based on real cases of the 30s and 40s. (The introduction is a true writer's tale that you'll remember long after finishing it.)

As I said Heller is my favoriteCollins protagonist and as I read these stories again I realized why. He is a rich, complex human being who grows and changes with each new appearance. Yes, you can count on him to be hard-boiled and cynical but then he constantly surprises you with his compassion and his street wisdom. You can never be sure how he'll react to a character or a situation. That's damned good writing.

The stories themselves are masterful. My long-time favorites such as "Kaddish For The Kid," "Marble Mildred" and "The Strawberry Teardrop" are here but so are some I'd never read before including a couple of new knock-outs "Unreasonable Doubt" and "Shout-Out on Sunset."

One story, "The Blonde Tigress," is the best example of why this is such a fine book. As with every story, Collins wrings so many surprises in both character and plot that you start to remember how much plain damned fun it is to spend your time with a book. Writers as well as readers such read Tigress and analyze it. If I ever taught a class in short fiction this would be one of my choices.

This is a book you'll enjoy and admire. I promise.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BIG NEWS FROM LEE GOLDBERG: Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint has picked up THE DEAD MAN

I am thrilled to announce that Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint has picked up THE DEAD MAN series in a unique and exclusive 12-book digital & print deal ... with an option for more. But that's not all. Brilliance Audio will be also be rolling out their own editions of the books.

The five books that we've already published -- FACE OF EVIL, RING OF KNIVES, HELL IN HEAVEN, THE DEAD WOMAN, and THE BLOOD MESA -- will be re-released in the days leading up to Halloween ... so keep your eyes peeled for great offers.

The sixth book in the series will be released in November and will be followed each month by another new adventure in the continuing saga of Matt Cahill, a man resurrected from the dead to battle evil among us that only he can see.

Amazon will also be releasing three-book compilations of THE DEAD MAN series in trade paperback (as well as in specially priced digital editions). The release dates of the first compilation, and the Brilliance Audio editions, have not been determined yet ... but we’re hoping they'll be ready for Christmas.

Bill Rabkin and I will continue to run the series, which we're writing with a terrific group of action, horror, mystery, SF and western authors, like James Daniels, David McAfee, James Reasoner, Harry Shannon, Joel Goldman, Mel Odom, Jude Hardin, Lisa Klink, Mark Ellis, Matthew Mayo, Joe Nassise, Bill Crider, Matt Witten, Marcus Pelegrimas, Burl Barer, and Phoef Sutton.

And we couldn't have hoped for a better partner than Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer. I just returned from meeting with the Thomas & Mercer team (including editors Terry Goodman and Andy Bartlett) in Seattle and was blown away by their creativity, enthusiasm, and eagerness to see THE DEAD MAN reach its full potential. They get exactly what Bill and I are trying to do with this series.

And what is that, you ask?

We want to capture the spirit of the “men’s action adventure” paperbacks of the 70s and 80s – short, tightly-written books full of hard-boiled heroes, outrageously sexy women, wild adventure, and gleefully over-the-top plots – and reboot the genre for a new generation that maximizes the potential of the Kindle.

And with Thomas & Mercer behind us, I don't see how we can fail.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Valerie Frankel to Bestsellers--Drop Dead!

Ed here: I know this probably sounds bogus but I've rarely had dreams of great success as a writer. Making a living at it was my goal. As for jealousy, sure, every once in awhile I wince when I see the success of somebody I consider to be an atrocious writer but I let it go as quickly as I can. What's the point? I'm posting this link to the Valerie Frankel piece not because I agree with it or even enjoyed it all that much but because I admire its frenetic candor.

Author to Bestsellers: Drop Dead
Sep 18, 2011 8:53 PM EDT

Valerie Frankel has enjoyed a long career as a writer, but after two dozen books with modest sales, she explains why she’s come to hate New York Times bestselling debut novelists—except Snooki.
When I set out to write a memoir called It’s Hard Not to Hate You, about embracing toxic emotions and giving myself permission to be an unrepentant rageholic, I knew I had to include a chapter on professional jealousy. Nothing flared my freudeschaden—taking misery in another person’s joy—like New York Times bestselling debut novelists.

The rich. The thin. The beautiful. I’ve got no problem with them. If the world’s wealthiest, hottest woman walked into my office and asked for a cup of coffee, I’d get it. But if she said, “Guess what? My first novel just hit the New York Times bestsellers list!”?

Hate. She could get her coffee in hell.

My first novel was published (with a whimper) in 1991. I’ve written two dozen books since. Most landed with a thud, but some did well enough to eke out another contract. Critically, I’ve earned stellar—and horrific—reviews. I’ve won an award, and been nominated for others. My books have been translated into dozens of languages. And yet, I’m as anonymous an author as Gertrude M. Sneedermann. Who? Never heard of her?


I’ve never made it—“it” being, as any author could tell you, The New York Times bestseller list. When I started out, I fantasized about striking it big. I still do. Dreams of literary stardom didn’t die or fade away. They limped along, dragging tirelessly, like a zombie.

for the rest go here:

Hard Case Crime Discovers Lost Novel by James M. Cain

Hard Case Crime Discovers Lost Novel by
Author of Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce,
and The Postman Always Rings Twice

James M. Cain’s Final, Unpublished Crime Novel,
THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS, Scheduled for 2012 Release

New York, NY; London, UK (September 19, 2011) – Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of mystery novels published by Titan Books, today announced the discovery of a lost crime novel written by James M. Cain, author of such classics as Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. The new novel, The Cocktail Waitress, has never before been published. Hard Case Crime will bring the book out in Fall 2012.

The Cocktail Waitress was the final book written by Cain, who died in 1977. He was working on revisions to the novel until close to the end of his life; handwritten notes and edits appear in the margins of numerous pages. Charles Ardai, founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, first learned of the book’s existence from Max Allan Collins, author of Road to Perdition, and has spent more than nine years tracking down the author’s original manuscript and arranging to get the rights to publish the book.

“Together with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain is universally considered one of the three greatest writers of noir crime fiction who ever lived, “ said Ardai, “and for fans of the genre, The Cocktail Waitress is the Holy Grail. It’s like finding a lost manuscript by Hemingway or a lost score by Gershwin – that’s how big a deal this is.”

Combining themes from Mildred Pierce and The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Cocktail Waitress tells the story of a beautiful young widow, Joan Medford, whose husband died under suspicious circumstances. Desperate to make ends meet after his death, she takes a job as a waitress in a cocktail lounge, where he meets two new men: a handsome young schemer she falls in love with, and a wealthy older man she marries.

“Why am I taping this?” Joan narrates. “It’s in the hope of getting it printed to clear my name of the charges made against me…of being a femme fatale who knew ways of killing a husband so slick they couldn’t be proved. Unfortunately, they cannot be disproved either… All I know to do is to tell it and tell it all, including some things no woman would willingly tell…”

“At his best, Cain was an astonishingly strong writer, not just of great crime novels but of great novels, period,” Ardai said. Cain’s work is taught in literature programs at numerous major universities and was also the basis of classic films such as Billy Wilder’s adaptation of Double Indemnity, which boasted a screenplay by Raymond Chandler and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. The Postman Always Rings Twice was adapted as a 1946 film starring Lana Turner and then again in 1981 with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange and a screenplay by David Mamet. Mildred Pierce was adapted earlier this year into a critically acclaimed miniseries on HBO for which stars Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce both won Emmy Awards.

The Cocktail Waitress will be released initially in hardcover and e-book editions, with a paperback edition to follow in 2013. Like all of Hard Case Crime’s titles, the book will feature a new cover painting in the classic pulp style.

About Hard Case Crime

Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for or won numerous awards since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award. The series’ best-selling title of all time, The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, was the basis for the current SyFy television series Haven, while Max Allan Collins’ Hard Case Crime novel The Last Quarry inspired the feature film The Last Lullaby, starring Tom Sizemore. Universal Pictures has features in development based on two Hard Case Crime titles, Little Girl Lost and Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas.

Founded in 2004 by Edgar and Shamus Award-winning crime novelist Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Ardai’s media company, Winterfall LLC, and Titan Publishing Group.

About Titan Publishing Group

Titan Publishing Group is an independently owned publishing company, established in 1981, comprising three divisions: Titan Books, Titan Magazines/Comics and Titan Merchandise. Titan Books' rapidly growing fiction list encompasses original fiction and reissues, primarily in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk and crime. 2012 crime fiction highlights will include Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins’ all-new Mike Hammer Novels, and books by Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Joseph Koenig, and more. Titan Books also has an extensive line of media and pop culture-related non-fiction, graphic novels, art and music books. The company is based at offices in London, but operates worldwide, with sales and distribution in the US & Canada being handled by Random House.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stephen Crane and Friend Horsing Around

Steohen Crane and friend horsing around on NYC rooftop 1900.

Bill Peschel's blog is consistently one of the most intelligent and entertaining sites around. As a Crane fanatic, I wanted to share this from Peschel's blog.


There’s no other history about it; it’s just a neat picture. I used it to link to an essay I wrote a couple years ago: Stephen Crane: I Fought the Law and the Law Won, about the time he squared off against the NYPD to defend a prostitute who was being hassled by a street cop.

The cop later was executed at Sing Sing for murder — the first NYPD cop to hit the hot seat — and that incident showed up in “The Great Gatsby,” as the essay says.

I thought it was a cool of Crane to do that. It showed a sense of justice and courage, and it ended up costing him, because he had to leave New York City when he was humiliated at a trial when the police investigated his background and smeared his reputation.

for the rest go here:

Underground Reading: The Rest Must Die by Richard Foster

Ed here: I ran across this review by accident. I liked this book when I read it in high school. Made a lot of sense to me. I haven't read it since. This review is interesting because it uses the novel to demonstrate how sexist and he-mannish it was--and how it perfectly reflected prevailing attitudes. As I was reading it I thought of how little this theme (and it beliefs) --after The Apocalypse--has changed. And yes I mean you Cormac McCarthy. The review becomes an essay on the Fifties. This is reviewed reviewed by Jared. For the entire essay go here

Underground Reading: The Rest Must Die by Richard Foster

Richard Foster's The Rest Must Die (1959) begins with Bob Foster, advertising executive, returning from a boozy lunch. He's busy dreaming up his new cigarette campaign on the walk back to the office when the air-raid siren goes off. Like the well-trained Cold War civilian that he is, Foster dives into the nearest shelter - a subway station.

The hundreds of New Yorkers in the station stand around awkwardly, waiting to return to their lives above ground. But (drumroll) this is not to be. One rumble after another means that something is happening on the surface - and then one man stumbles down, face burned, screaming about the mushroom clouds.

The book follows the surviving New Yorkers as they fashion a rough subterranean society underneath the radioactive remnants of their city. Initially, survival is a rough scramble for the basic necessities: food, water and shelter.

As those are sorted, the focus broadens to the group's social dynamics. Now that the world has changed, who is in control? Police officers and air-raid wardens try to keep order, but even the tiny civilisation in the subways has its malcontents. A few hardened criminals lead a breakaway group, a cop snaps and goes "bad" and, of course, there are the hundreds and hundreds of people who adjust to the new world (dis)order by turning, essentially, feral.

Fortunately, some men (and a rare few women) rise to the occasion. Bob is one of them. Despite losing his entire family to the bombs, he quickly puts himself in order and takes command. From the opening minutes, Bob is a voice of calm, rational thought. He's also one of the first to adjust to the concept that society-as-we-know-it is over, suggesting to the reigning police cabal that they destroy the alcohol, ration the food and horde the weapon

Saturday, September 17, 2011

John D. MacDonad -Religious writer???

Ed here: Steve Scott's The Trap of Solid Gold website, dedicated to all things John D. MacDonald, is one of the most richly detailed sites dealing with the popular fiction of the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies. In learning about JDM we learn about not only his life but also the lives of pulp writers and editors of that era. For this post log on and scroll down.

Go here:

Steve Scott:

"What About Alice?"

The Sign was a national magazine that first began publication in 1921 and which published its final issue in 1982. Billing itself as the "National Catholic Magazine," it was produced in Union City, New Jersey by an order of priests and brothers known as The Passionist Fathers. Much like similar endeavors with a narrowly focused audience -- magazines like The American Legion Magazine and The Elks Magazine -- The Sign was modeled on the general circulation magazines of the day and featured everything from news articles; book, radio and movie reviews; sports articles; columns, and -- yes -- fiction. Before television took over our lives, nearly every magazine featured at least some fiction. And with articles bearing titles like "Why I Became a Catholic," "From Confucianism to Christ" and "The Evil That God Permits," The Sign would be the last place one would expect to find a short story by John D MacDonald. Yet in the early winter of 1947, in the magazine's December Christmas issue, MacDonald's "What About Alice?" appeared. It was the only time the author would grace the table of contents of this religious periodical, just as he would do with his one-time appearance in The American Legion Magazine.

Of course MacDonald was not a Catholic -- his heritage was as Waspy as a WASP's could be -- and his religious views could be charitably defined as agnostic. How one of his stories ended up in a magazine like The Sign is a tale probably lost to the ages, yet it is likely the result of his literary agent finding a paying market for a JDM story and not caring about who signed the check or what bank it was drawn on. As MacDonald once put it bluntly when recalling this period of his career, "What I was trying to do ... was earn a living at 1¢ and 2¢ a word.... If I did fifteen [stories] a week (not unusual) and sold two of them, after trying them all on every conceivable market, any small increment in skill or believability could make it possible to do ten a week and sell three."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Greg Benford Goes Hollywood

Nebula Winning science fiction writer (and physicist) Greg Benford writes a perceptive and often funny piece about his travails with Hwood people who do and don't want to produce his material. Having been through this myself I appreciate how well it got it all down.

Greg Benford:

So there I was a few weeks later, talking to a story editor. His development company was interested in making a TV miniseries from my novel, The Martian Race. The whole point of the approach was to portray Mars the way it would really be, hard and gritty and unforgiving. The story editor liked this a “whole lot” and thought it was a “breakthrough concept” and all, but he had his own creative input, too.

“I want a magic moment right here, at the end of the first hour,” he said. “Really suck that ol’ juice out!” (One of the signatures of H’wood is the incessant use of cliché phrases, the rule of advanced, glance-over-the-shoulder hipitude.)

“Magic?” I asked guardedly.

“Something to bring out the wonder of Mars, yeah.”


“See, when the astronaut is inside this cave—“

“Thermal vent. From an old volcano—“

“Okay, okay, vent it is. In this vent, he’s trapped, right?”

“Well, not actually—“

“So he’s banged up and he thinks he’s going to die and he thinks, what the hell.”

“What the hell.”

“Right, you get it. He says what the hell, he might as well take his helmet off.”

“Helmet. Off.”

“Right, you got it. Big moment. Cracks the seal. He smiles and takes a big breath, and says, ‘Oxygen! There’s oxygen here. Let’s take off these helmets!’ Whaddaya think?”

“I like the robot better.”

Ed here: The robot reference is to a previous Hwood encounter.

For the entire piece go here:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Movie Stuff: Peter Bogdanovich on Robert Aldrich; movies of 1950

Peter Bogdanovich discusses The Dirty Dozen and the career of director Robert Aldrich. Good stuff.

"Bob Aldrich (1918-1983) was himself always a kind of insider/outsider in the Hollywood industry, a maverick who played by the rules, but bending them as much as possible in an ornery iconoclastic fashion that produced a number of complicated, darkly ambiguous works. Having been assistant to such unique filmmakers as Jean Renoir (on The Southerner; see Picture of the Week 1/18/11), Abraham Polonsky (on Force of Evil) and Charles Chaplin (on Limelight), Aldrich stamped his own movies with a restless, edgy signature, defying restrictions or easy assumptions.

"The results were such angry, oddball triumphs of individualism as his sardonic Gary Cooper-Burt Lancaster action-send up, Vera Cruz (1954); his annihilating Mickey Spillane thriller, Kiss Me Deadly (1955; see Picture of the Week 1/6/11), in which even the title, in a characteristic Aldrich manner, rolled up backward: Deadly Kiss Me; his Clifford Odets anti-Hollywood drama, The Big Knife (1955; see Special Comments: Film as Hell 6/15/11); his Bette Davis-Joan Crawford psycho duel, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962), among several others equally enthralling."

for all of it go here:

Here are some of the movies released in 1950. What a year.

All About Eve
The Asphalt Jungle
Born Yesterday
Les Enfants Terribles
Gun Crazy
In A Lonely Place
Miss Julie
Night and The City
Sunset Boulevard
Winchester 73

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How did Bill Crider miss this one? Eel Swims Up Man's Penis, Has To Be Surgically Removed

Eel Swims Up Man's Penis, Has To Be Surgically Removed
The Huffington Post First Posted: 9/14/11 09:21 AM ET Updated: 9/14/11 01:55 PM ET

It's every man's worst nightmare.

Zhang Nan, of China, was bathing with live eels in order to cleanse his skin when things went horribly wrong. According to Metro, one of the small eels managed to not only swim up his urethra, but actually made it all the way to his bladder.

"I climbed into the bath and I could feel the eels nibbling my body. But then suddenly I felt a severe pain and realized a small eel had gone into the end of my penis," the 56-year-old told the British paper.

The eel bath is similar to more common "fish pedicures" in which small sea creatures remove layers of dead skin.

Nan was rushed to the hospital where a three-hour operation removed the slimy little menace. Metro reports that by the time the eel was extracted, it was already dead.

You can see a photo of the eel here, at Metro.

Strange as it may sound, it's actually not the first time an aquatic animal has made its way up a man's urethra. In fact, there's an entire episode of "Jeremy Wade's River Monsters" dedicated to a fish that is infamous for such incidents.

The Candiru catfish, a vicious Amazonian species, uses its slimy nature, much like the eel, to penetrate the human body. Wade details the excruciating event in the clip below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Books:Lights In A Black Forest by Martena Warner; The Lies About Spies

For fifty years, Heinrich Warner chose to forget his past. At night, he dreamed alive again the ghosts of his childhood. By day, he chose to forget them all. But, ghosts do not stay hidden forever, especially in the mind of an old man who can no longer remember what is real...

Now on Amazon Kindle $4.99.

Ed here: I read a long section of this as it was being finished. History, drama, characters you haven't met before. A fine first novel.

Cinema Retro is running a very cool article in its Department of Disinformation about all the bogus stories that have accrued to various espionage films and TV shows. Writer Craig Henderson really knows his stuff. Check it out. Here's a sample.

Craig Henderson Cinema Retro:

The Avengers was a spin-off from Ian Hendry’s earlier series Police Surgeon.

Wrong, but at least the origins of this lie are easier to understand, especially in the United States where Police Surgeon and the first years of The Avengers were unknown. Actually, Police Surgeon was a half-hour drama that ran from September to December 1960 on the U.K.’s commercial network, ITV. It was produced by ABC — a British company that was one of ITV’s major program suppliers at the time, not to be confused with the American network of the same initials. The series was not successful but its star Ian Hendry was thought to have great possibilities. So ABC created a new series for Hendry, which was, of course, The Avengers, a one-hour show with Patrick Macnee as his co-star.

The only similarity between the two series is that Hendry played a doctor in both. But in Police Surgeon he was Dr. Geoffrey Brent, a medico attached to the London police force. In The Avengers he was Dr. David Keel, a physician in private practice. If the Dr. Brent character had continued in The Avengers, then that show would indeed have been a spin-off of Police Surgeon. But he didn’t, and it isn’t.

for the entire article go here:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prime Suspect; Grift Magazine

Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison

Ed here: I hate to say it because I'm a big Maria Bello fan but the new version of Prime Suspects looks to be judging by the trailers just one more hack cop show. Here from Criminal Element is Manda Collins discussing the original and the remake.

Manda Collins:

And there, in the middle of it all, was Helen Mirren’s Jane Tennison, pressing up against the glass ceiling one cigarette burn at a time.

Along with her team of crack detectives—many of whom were so not cool with being led and outranked by a woman—Jane didn’t always play by the rules. She had to remind her guys again and again to refer to her as “guv” instead of the loathed “ma’am.” She was at times crude, often insubordinate, and she had a bit of a drinking problem. And let’s not mention her affairs. So many affairs. But she got the job done. And she cared. (Which is why she drank.)

Over the seasons, Prime Suspect featured a veritable revolving door of classically trained British actors. Who can forget Ciaran Hinds, at his creepy best (or worst if you love him as Captain Wentworth in the 1995 version of Persuasion), as Edward Parker-Jones. Or Stephen Macintosh as The Street? Tom Wilkinson, Zoe Wanamaker, Colin Salmon, David Thewlis, Mark Strong…the list is endless. And always, always, Helen Mirren’s Tennison, at the heart of the drama.

Through the years, I’ve watched some of my favorite British shows get the Americanization treatment. Cracker, which was unrecognizable without Robby Coltrane. Coupling, which seemed crass and overproduced, and somehow mercenary, in its American iteration. And of course, The Office, which I cannot watch. Will this new version of one of my favorite mystery shows of all time work? I don’t know.

If I do end up watching, I’ll do so with an effort to completely divorce this new version from the classic one. It’s the only way those of us past a certain age can survive with our sensibilities (or our hearts) intact.

for all of it go here:

------------------------GRIFT MAGAZINE

From good writer and nice guy John Kenyon:

Grift Magazine, a new print publication focused on crime fiction, will debut in February 2012.

Grift will be published in print form three times yearly — February, June and October — and will feature a mix of short crime fiction, reviews, interviews and more.

In addition, will be home to more content that will include flash fiction, review, interviews and news from the world of crime fiction.

Larry David, Entourage, Jackie-O

I was wired for the finales of both Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. I thought that both had strong episodes this season. Larry David faltered a few times, especially when he went for shock. I liked especially the episode with the baseball player shunned for screwing up a play in the World Series. I would've run that as the finale and put last night's very weak episode somewhere in the middle of the order. Goofing on Michael J. Fox's Parkinson disease isn't as "shocking" as Larry obviously thinks it is especially when the writing is as lame as it was. Disappointing.

For me this was the best season of the entire Entourage run. It had actual stories with characters changing and lives being altered.. Three major plot cliff-hangers last night and every one of them ended up in standard Hwood Happy Endings. A big cop-out. And Vince getting married after knowing the woman 24 hours (well he'd been interviewed by her before I guess). We'd laugh if this was on a "woman's" series.

I watched a long segment on the Jackie-O interviews now being made public. I never bought into the Camelot bullshit and I had mixed feelings about JFK as President. I certainly would've voted for him again but he struck me as coasting on style more often than substance. Jackie-O was one of the most contrived figures in American history. That bullshit breathy voice, those arch mannerisms and her feigned intellectualism. Hoo-boy. Bad acting. So in real life she takes without question the lies fricking sociopath J. Edgar Hoover tells her about Martin Luther King--how King disparaged the Kennedys, etc. And then she blasts King not being able to figure out (gosh her vaunted intellectualism must have failed her) that Hoover despised King and enjoyed playing him off the Kennedys whom he also despised. Jackie-O was right at home on Aristotle Onassis' yacht where she belonged.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From Lee Goldberg's A Writer's Life--E Book sales

Thanks to Lee Goldberg's great blog A Writer's Life this astonishing piece of information.


Ebook Sales Are Skyrocketing, Paperback books Are Plummeting

According to figures released today by the Association of American Publishers, so far this year ebook sales are up 167% while paperbacks have plunged 64% and hardcovers have dropped 25%. It's a safe prediction that the holiday season will create a sharp spike in ebook sales and an even steeper drop in paperback and hardcover sales. It won't be long now until the mass market paperback becomes virtually extinct.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Ed here: I'm very late posting this. My apologies to Cinema Retro.

Cinema Retro's Movie Classics tribute issue to Kelly's Heroes is now available for ordering directly from Ebay through our affiliated Spy Guise store. Click here to order...and while in the store, browse through the thousands of movie photos and collectibles that are also available including a special Cinema Retro back issue section.

Posted by Cinema Retro in Magazine News on Wednesday, August 17. 2011

The acclaim from fans and those who worked on the film is pouring in. Here is an E mail we received from director John Landis, who began his career working as an assistant to director Brian G. Hutton on the movie:
Dear Dave and Lee –

The Kelly's Heroes extravaganza arrived today and it's quite overwhelming! I can't wait to read it cover to cover! It looks fantastic and extremely thorough. Congratulations! I really have never seen anything like it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Best always - John

As you may know, John Landis knows a thing or two about making movies, so his praise is certainly appreciated. A special thanks to John for providing ultra rare photos from his personal archive as well as original call sheets from the movie.

Following on from our 'Movie Classics Special Edition' that paid tribute to director Brian G. Hutton's Where Eagles Dare (which sold out and now commands in excess of $150 on Ebay!) we bring you his other big picture collaboration with star Clint Eastwood - Kelly's Heroes.
As before, this is an 80-page blockbuster filled with amazing stories and ultra -rare photographs, many which have never been seen before, and all for the same cover price as our regular 64-page magazine!

We have had the full cooperation of the director Brian G. Hutton, who has shared with us the trials and tribulations of making this WWII action-comedy on location in Yugoslavia. Some of the stories have to be read to be believed! Additionally, we have exclusive interviews with John Landis, actor Stuart Margolin (Little Joe), and Eastwood's regular key grip, Dennis Fraser. This issue is packed with sidebar information on the filming, the locations, the music, the actors, the world-wide poster campaigns and the collectibles. We have also unearthed rare vintage interviews with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Donald Sutherland recorded on location back in 1969 which have never been published before. All of this, plus many photographs taken on the set by cast and crew that we can guarantee you have never seen before.
“Oddball” would be pleased that there will be "no negative waves" from Cinema Retro's latest Movie Classics Special Edition
Order from the UK Office:
Prices include P&P:
UK: £8.50.
Europe: £9.75.
Rest of World: £11.50.
(We accept cheque or Paypal - recipient address is
Mailing address:
PO Box 1570
BH23 4XS

Order from the US Office:
Prices include P&P:
USA/Canada: $15.00
World: $20.00.
(We accept check, credit card and Paypal - recipient address is
Mailing address:
PO Box 152
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(Note: as with our previous “Movie Classics” special editions, this issue is not part of our subscription plan and must be ordered separately).
STILL AVAILABLE: Cinema Retro Movie Classics #2: The Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone "Dollar" film trilogy. Click here for info.

New Books: Cemetery Girl by David Bell

From David Bell and his website:
September 6, 2011
Announcing your chance to win an iPad, Kindle, or Nook

We are just four weeks from the release of Cemetery Girl on October 4th, and to thank you for your continued support of my work, I am announcing a drawing sponsored by this website.

Every week for the four weeks leading up to the book’s release, I will be giving away a Nook or a Kindle to one lucky reader who pre-orders Cemetery Girl. That’s right, all you have to do is pre-order Cemetery Girl from any bookstore (in person or online)*, send me an email at letting me know you’ve done it, and you will be entered in the weekly drawing for the Nook or Kindle. If you’ve already pre-ordered the book, just let me know, and you will be entered as well.

On September 13th, 20th, 27th and October 4th, I will announce the weekly winner here on my website as well as on Facebook and Twitter. If you don't win during one week, fear not. I will roll those entries over to the next week. I will also be giving away a runner-up prize every week—a signed copy of Cemetery Girl.

But wait, there’s more.

On October 4th at 11:00 p.m., the day of the book’s release, I will announce the grand prize winner of all four weeks of entries. One lucky entrant will—wait for it!—win an iPad. Yes, I am giving away an iPad. But all you have to do to be entered is pre-order the book, send me an email letting me know you pre-ordered, and you will be entered in the drawing. The deadline to enter is 11:00 p.m. on October 4th, 2011.

Please feel free to spread the word about this drawing to any of your friends, family members, acquaintances, or frenemies who like to read.

*If you already have a Nook or Kindle, you can buy the book in ebook format from or and still be entered to win as long as you email me at david@davidbellnovels to let me know.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Movie Peeves - Shut The F**k Up!

This is from The Wrap - Kent Youngblood for the whole piece go here:

I knew what bothered me but after asking for moviegoer pet peeves I was inundated with a host of other complaints -- some serious, some very funny. Seems like everyone has a tale to tell about a bad moviegoing experience. Here are 10 of the most interesting pet peeves I received:

1) Wearing enough cologne that I can track your scent. Or not taking a bath in a week and having your stink surround me. Either way my sense of smell is irreparably damaged.

2) Going with someone who has already seen the movie. They think they have to tell you what's happening. Thank you, but I’m intelligent enough to figure it out.

3) When nearly the whole theater is empty and the only other people that come to see the movie sit right next to you. It’s an empty theater, spread out!!

4) Couples that need to get a room. A little PDA is fine but when you’re going at it in front of me, that’s something I don’t want to see. Two movie tickets do not equal a cheap motel.

5) People who get to the front of the concession line and then don’t know what to order. It’s a movie theater! Unless you’re from Mars, you know what they have.

6) People who try to make witty comments during the movie thinking they’re funny. If you were any good you’d be creating what was on the screen and not in the back row of the cineplex.

7) People playing with candy wrappers all through the movie. We understand you’re OCD but just throw your Twizzlers wrapper in the trash.

8) Continual sniffling, coughing and clearing your throat drives me crazy. If you’re sick you shouldn’t be in the theater in the first place. Go home, take some Nyquil and zone out in front of the TV.

9) People sitting behind you who decide to rest their feet on the seat next to yours or on your seat back. Touch my seat again and you’re going to lose that foot.

10) People who clap after the movie. Who/what are they clapping for? Fanboys are notorious for this. Maybe it’s some sort of geeky ritual, only nerds understand.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Forgotten Books: Zero Cool by Michael Crichton

At some point in his life--perhaps subconsciously--Michael Crichton set out to conquer the world. Not enough that he was becoming a doctor. He had to write pulp fiction while still in med school. And not enough that he write pulp fiction, he had to write bestsellers. And not enough that he write bestsellers, he had to put his imprint on Hollywood by creating some of the most enduring popcorn movies of all times. Poor guy.

But for all his triumphs, I still like his early work better somehow. I enjoy Westworld more than Jurassic Park (I even prefer the somwhat messy Looker to some of the Big pictures) and his John Lange pulp stuff more than any of his later books (though The Great Train Robbery, Rising Sun and Sphere still work fine for me).

So I had a great time with the Hard Case Crime reissue of the John Lange novel Zero Cool.

This time out our hero is a radiologist named Peter Ross who, who visiting Spain, manages to pick up a lot of women and a trio of nasty and mysterious men who want him to perform an autopsy on a dead man who turns out to have been a gangster.

You have to admit. This is a pretty unique set-up for a crime novel. Ross and his elegant lady are dragged across Europe looking for an invaluable artifact. Lange was already a master of pacing. Ross is never quite sure what is going on as two different factions need his help to find an invaluable object.

Lange has more fun with this one than his other early books. The dialogue is breezier, the villains are a notch or two up the vermin scale and some elements of the unending race through various countries has the feel of Hitchcock directing Cary Grant.

This is one of those little gems of pure pulp pleasure, long on plot twists and derring do, and honed to lean perfection by a major storyteller.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Eddie Murphy? Brett Ratner?

From The Guardian UK:

"Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever," said (Brett) Ratner, who recently directed Murphy in upcoming action comedy Tower Heist. "With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances, especially on stage, I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show."

Ed here: I'm not sure why I'm paying any attention to this since I haven't been able to slog through more than forty-five minutes of an Academy Awards show in years.

The only Eddie Murphy film I've seen in a quarter century is "Bowfinger" that stupid-sweet movie he did with Steve Martin (and the lovely Heather Graham sleeping her way through LA). I was certainly a fan of his on the old Sat Night Live days. Man he was so original and funny. But his live concert put me off and not just for the much-criticised homophobia but also for the sheer self-infatuation and nastiness. Was this the real Eddie Murphy?

I once saw Brett Ratner interviewed and decided after only a few minutes that he embodied everything I hate about Hollywood. He's a piece of work--all ego, all mouth, all hack. The Academy had to dig real deep (nearly to China) to come up with him. He of course being a hack decided to promote his new (and as we know terrible) movie with Murphy by putting him center stage at the Awards,

I have a feeling I won't even make it forty-five minutes next Awards night. Unless Murphy is reborn into the comedian he was so long ago it's going to be a rough rough night.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

For writers with cats--GOTTA SEE THIS; Larry Cohen

another classic Simon's Cat video - I'm sure you can relate - I know I did!!!


I'm a big fan of director/writer Larry Cohen. Here's a link to Trailers from Hell. He comments on a number of movies but start out with his take on Abbott & Costello's Buck Privates. Great stuff.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Jerry Lewis Through The Years good stuff

Ed here: Since Jerry Lewis (and the MDA Telethon)are so much in the news today I thought I'd link to this site Mark Evanier suggested. Here's a montage that shows Jerry Lewis through merchandising, movie posters and night club appearances over the year-- from Stephen Kroninger. A lot of good memories for me especially with Eddie Mayhoff in the mix. I have fond memories of him playing off Jerry.

BTW my computer crashed. I'm trying to get my current novel off my external hard drive. I just hope it's there.

for everything go here:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Twice as Deadly -- Another New Book From Livia J. Washburn

Ed here: I'm a big fan of Livia's work (as well of James Reasoner, her husband). I remember her story in BLACK MOON. Really good material. This was on James' blog tonight. BYW I'm having trouble geting my iPhotos element to work. I called the computer guy early this morning. It's going on dinner time now. Maybe I'll leave him a crazed sobbing message. It hasn't worked in the past but there's always a first time.

Twice as Deadly -- Another New Book From Livia
Livia has just released TWICE AS DEADLY, an e-book collection of two novellas she wrote back in the Eighties about a Dallas private investigator named Laura Bailey. The first one was published in the anthology/collaborative novel THE BLACK MOON, and the second has never been published until now because the publisher went out of business before the second volume in the series came out. These are excellent hardboiled mysteries with a very likable protagonist, and I'm glad to see them available.

Twice As Deadly [Kindle Edition]
Livia J Washburn (Author)
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Forgotten Books: The Crimes of Jordan Wise by Bill Pronzini

Actuary Jordan Wise tells a joke on himself a third of the way through the novel: (paraphrase) an actuary is somebody who doesn't have the personality to be an accountant.

If you watch many true crime shows, you see a lot of Jordan Wises. People who fall into crime through circumstance rather than those who go looking for it.

Jordan becomes a criminal only after meeting Annalise, a troubled and very attractive young woman who needs two things badly--sex and money. But in order to get the sex on a regular basis, Jordan must first provide the money. He embezzles a half million dollars and flees with Annalise to the Virgin Islands. In this first part of the novel, there's nice James M. Cainian detail about how Jordan comes alive for the first time in his life. Some of this is due, whether he admits it or not, to the danger of committing a serious crime. But most of it is due to Annalise and his profound sexual awakening.

The central section of the book reminds me of one of Maugham's great South Seas tales--lust, betrayl, shame played out against vast natural beauty and a native society that, thanks to an old sea man named Bone, that Jordan comes to see value in--even if Annalise, her head filled with dreams of Paris and glamor, does not. Old Maugham got one thing right for sure--as Pronzini demonstrates here--a good share of humanity, wherever you find them, are both treacherous and more than slightly insane.

There are amazing sections of writing about sea craft and sailing that remind me not of old Travis McGee but of the profoundly more troubled and desperate men of Charles Williams who find purity and peace only in the great and epic truths of the sea. That they may be as crazed and treacherous as everybdy else does not seem to bother them unduly.

There are also amazing sections (almost diaristic sections) where Jordan tells of us his fears and desires, his failings and his dreams. In places he deals vididly, painfully with his secret terror of not being enough of a man in any sense to hold Annalise.

The publisher calls this a novel and so it is. Pronzini brings great original width and breadth to the telling of this dark adventure that is both physical and spiritual. He has never written a better novel, the prose here literary in the best sense, lucid and compelling, fit for both action and introspection.

You can't read a page of this without seeing it in movie terms. The psychologically violent love story played out against a variety of contemporary settings gives the narrative great scope. And in Jordan Wise and Annalise he has created two timeless people. This story could have been set in ancient Egypt or Harlem in 1903 or an LA roller skating disco in 1981. As Falkner said neither the human heart nor the human dilemma ever changes.