Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Dashiell!

In my work-related stupor, I forgot to celebrate Dashiell Hammet's birthday (May 27th). So here's to you, Sam, you made crime fiction what it is today.


Last week I saw a TV ad for a movie remake of a TV series that I kind of enjoyed as a child. It might turn out to be a good pic after all as the actors are good at what they do, but I kind of got the feeling that all this movie had in common with the original TV series, was the title and a couple of the characters names. It seemed to be the worst possible permutation of "missed it by that much."

I thought being a former aspiring screenwriter, why don't I adapt the same reverence and accuracy for the source material that Hollywood does, while even out "Hollywooding" Hollywood and going to the pointless sequel right off the bat.

I'll give you the original book title, and then I'll follow it up with the shameless pseudo-Hollywood rip-off, okay?

The Original: "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
My Sequel: "Been There, Wish I Hadn't Done That."

The Original: "Jaws."
My Sequel: "Gums."

The Original: "Kiss The Girls."
My Sequel: "Trick The Girls Into Signing A Pre-Nup."

The Original: "Crime And Punishment"
My Sequel: "Parole, Minimum Wage And Ennui."

The Original: "Europe On $25 A Day."
My Sequel: "Your Backyard On A Bag Of Stale Airline Peanuts & Two Cans Of Flat Soda, A Day."

The Original: "The Moosewood Cookbook"
My Sequel: "Fifty Percent Of These Recipes Taste Just Like Wood, Cookbook."

The Original: "How To Influence Friends And Influence People."
My Sequel: "How To Spin Friends And Influenza People."

The Original: "The Old Man And The Sea."
My Sequel: "The Old Man, Spring Break, Viagra And The Heart Attack."

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Perfect Writing Quote From Ray Bradbury

"What is the subconscious to every other man, in its creative aspect becomes, for writers, The Muse."

– Ray Bradbury

From Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Vanity Kills"

I had to get out of the house and out of the city, that much was certain.

Unfortunately the epiphany that I was looking for came about nine minutes too late. I had become one of those people in the newspapers that I hold in contempt, because their reflexes override their common sense. Like when someone is crossing the street on a stormy day and wind snatches their umbrella from their hands. They turn around and scramble for their umbrella, not realizing that the light has changed and the bus is going to run the umbrella and them, over.

Or when a house is burning down and someone goes back into the house to retrieve the family photo album, only to have the ceiling collapse and snuff out their lives. My undoing was my vanity, which managed to betray me twice. My fingers were still burning as I sat down in my Subaru station wagon, the bleach and cleansers amongst other things had done quite a number on my hands.

Nor did I feel clean despite soaking in the shower until the water heater cried “uncle.” I could still feel the dirt from the backyard caked all over me. I grabbed the rearview mirror and looked back at my tired eyes. I looked every bit as old and worn out as Miranda accused me of being; “thirty going on sixty-five,” despite the fact that I’m four years younger than she was. She knew from the very first date that we had, that I hated aging and she made it a point throughout our relationship to push that button like some robot that tests a part’s durability so many thousands of times.

I took a deep breath and adjusted the mirror back to its original position. I had to get away from this house…I had to get away from this city.

It wasn’t really someone or something chasing me away, it was all me and the fact that I couldn’t complete one simple, solitary thought. I had become a creature of pure instinct with barely any reasoning left over to control my own actions. I did somehow manage to book a flight to Cabo San Lucas and I also managed to pack a bag. Beyond that, I was just a hot tired mess. I got all of six blocks away from our cozy little house, before I remembered that I had forgotten both my facial scrub and moisturizers. I didn’t want to stop at one of the malls along the way or pay through the nose at the airport for my favorite brand, so I went back home.

As I pulled up, there was Miranda right there at the front gate of our little hideaway and she started in again with how ungracefully I was aging. She was telling me how she was going to leave me for somebody younger whose tits weren’t permanently going south for the winter.

“Nobody’s going to want you, Sheila, except for some museum that might use you as a stand-in at a mummy exhibit.”

I kicked the gate open and walked past her. Once I was in Mexico, my thoughts and mind would be my own again. Two minutes later and I had the very products that kept the wrinkles away under my arms in two small carry-on bags…unfortunately that was about three minutes too many.

My brother, who loves to drop in unannounced, pulled up right next to my station wagon and honked. He seemed to have a brand new floozy with him and she wasn’t the typical silicone-enhanced cheerleader-type that he usually had dangling from his arm when he’s in town. She had a definite and deliberate air about her.

She was also more butch than Miranda and I put together, which made me dislike her instantly because that was the very type that Miranda seemed to like to cheat on me with, the most. My brother and his new girlfriend got out, and he didn’t close his door all the way, which I had not noticed at the time. Introductions were made, though I still can’t recall her name as I was preoccupied with how was I going to get them to leave and make my flight.

It was at that point that I wondered if her “definite and deliberate air” had the scent of a law enforcement background, because she reeked of being a cop. Suddenly my brother’s car door flew open and a German Sheppard leapt out and ran past me into the yard.

His girlfriend ran after the dog and my brother said, “Wow, Fritzi must have the scent of a dead squirrel or something. She’s training to be a rescue dog and he just goes nuts when there’s anything dead around.”

My brother went after them and I went into a slow backpedal, until they went around the back of the house, where I then got in my Subaru and sped off.

The rest I’ll just have to imagine, as I am now just pulling up on the freeway. No doubt, the dog is still digging through the three and a half feet of dirt that took me some six hours to dig up and he when he finally reaches Miranda, she’ll still have that hateful smirk on her face. She'll have that same vindictive grin that somehow survived that tumble down the stairs that we both took; her neck breaking and me having to drag her into the backyard.

“You know you are going to age twice as fast in prison” Miranda cackles at me in the rearview mirror from the backseat. She has that same venomous sneer on her now purple lips.

I just sigh, as I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ve lost my sanity as far back as last night, when I was digging her grave. I chuckle and say with what little defiance I can muster “even in death, you still can’t keep that big fat trap of yours shut, can you Miranda?”

Monday, May 12, 2008

Even Bookgasm Is Mentioning "Astonishing Adventures Magazine"

Even Bookgasm is mentioning Astonishing Adventure Magazine. So what's your excuse? Check it out today!

Actually, this is just another excuse to put the cover up and I don't care what John says (even though he drew her), that's Darla Crane!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Frank Misunderstanding

They broke up quietly, almost without a word. He thought they had something special and so did she, up until a point. He shared his apartment with two roommates and to say that the walls of the apartment were paper-thin was being generous.

So he would make the best of the situation by playing some music via his iPod, which he would dock into his clock radio. One night, his iPod was out of commission, so he borrowed his older brother's iPod Shuffle. Because he had to run a fair amount of distance to his brother's and back to get the Shuffle, his legs were on the verge of cramping up.

They merged and linked. An old Francis Albert tune from the 40's came on just as his right leg went tight and as he tried to work through the cramp, something magical and almost ethereal, happened for her. In the afterglow, she thought he turned the corner in terms of the bedroom and he thought that the crooner was her ultimate aphrodisiac. From then on, he associated the singer as all the foreplay that she would need and she wondered how just how a lover could go downhill so fast.

They broke up in less than a week; neither the wiser nor able to talk out what was right about the relationship or what went wrong.

Still, they ran in the same circles and had close friends in common. They would see each other and the flame that was their relationship never went out. They dated other people, but found the others to be even less desirable. As she lay depressed in bed one night, she decided to call him up and even though she woke him up, he was happy to hear her voice.

They talked until the sun came up and since they both had to go to work, they both decided to call in sick and sleep together...literally. When they woke up late that afternoon, she decided that they should talk it out.

With great reluctance because of her conservative upbringing, she had discussed what he had done right and asked him why he just did that the one occasion. Then she asked him-

"Why did you develop on obsession with Sinatra?"

"I really don't like him, I thought that you did."

"No, I can't stand him on most days and besides, his last name means 'without a duck."

They shared a chuckle, and then they shared a kiss. She made a suggestion about what she wanted and he listened. Then he made a suggestion and she reciprocated.

They moved in together and their connection is stronger than ever. They have an apartment with even thinner walls, but no roommates and nary a crooner album or single to be found.

Monday, May 5, 2008

On The Printed Page, San Francisco Is Crime Central

Recently the San Francisco Chronicle has been asking Bay Area writers "what's the best book that you've read that features San Francisco in it?" There has been a conspicuous absence by the interview authors of crime fiction, in specific? A certain novel about a bird that would eventually go on to make Humphrey Bogart a true leading star and put John Huston on the map.

Well, Eddie Muller was nice enough to take care of that omission and more, by picking out a list of some of the best "Crime Novels Set In The Bay Area." Click the purple and take a gander. Then he takes it step further by saying on the printed page "San Francisco Is Crime Central" and he backs that up with interviews of Bay Area authors.

Of course Mr. Muller cannot in good conscious add his own two great contributions to that list...

"The Distance"

and "Shadow Boxer"...
 I will.

Also, I would like to add "Street Raised" by Pearce Hansen...

and "Cons, Scams and Grifts (A DKA File Novel)" by Joe Gores...

 that esteemed list.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Third Issue of Astonishing Adventures Is Here!

The world's greatest pulp online magazine is back with its exciting third issue!

You can download it here at Media Fire...

"Emotionally Pantsed" by Katie Schwartz

Hey, Katie Schwartz has been interviewed by Farmhouse Magazine, in anticpation of her soon to be released book "Emotionally Pantsed!"

Go check it out!

P.S. Don't you just love that book title?