Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inked Up

Would you get your favorite literary quote or book character tattooed on your body? Of course you would...or at least please, go with the long deceased. Hopefully nothing shameful will come up about them and you won't regret that tattoo.

At any rate, check out Contrariwise to see those that would and by the way, Papercuts got me hip to this.

I would consider getting the Continental Op inked on my left bicep, but everyone would ask me "what's up with the Tony Soprano tat and why is he wearing old timey clothes?"

Literary Blogpourri

Is it me, or as Robert Crais gets older...

...he looks more and more like Robert Forester?

Except for the eyes, of course.

What, Max Cherry, no Pinocchio clock?

Proud mama Patti Abbott posted the upcoming UK cover for her daughter's novel "Die A Little"

I'm terrible at Six Differences and most of the time if I am real lucky, I'll get five.

My first impression was that the British cover turned the original painting into an exterior shot. Uh, wrong. My next mistaken impression was the Brit cover was much further away than it actually was.

Patti pointed out that they changed the font and coloring of those letters. The UK font really belongs on an action comic cover. The original font gives the cover dignity and a proper vintage feel.

The one thing that I did note correctly was that lightened the cover more than a couple of shades. Dammit, it's neo-noir, how can they take the scuro out of the chiaroscuro? Che cazzate.

Christian Slater has a show coming up on NBC in the fall and he says...

"Let's see, I'm essentially playing two very distinct characters - Henry Spivey and Edward Albright. Henry is an everyman. He's got two kids, goes to work, regular. Edward Albright works for this top secret government organization. He's an operative, and Edward knows about Henry. Henry doesn't know about Edward, but the implant that's been put in his brain begins to malfunction, and the two personalities begin to merge, which is what happens in the first episode."

Note that the Dr. Jekyl half of Slater's character has the last name "Spivey." So I would say, "Uh, NBC? Change the Edward Albright character to Drexl Spivey and you have yourself a loyal viewer, right here. Not really, but it would mean that I would watch more episode than I originally would have.

"True Romance" is my favorite Tarantino script and certainly outside of Jackie Brown, his most Leonard-like script of all. Also note that this is the sole Drexl image I could find on the web, I'm going to have to learn how to vidcap one day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken and Feta Dinner

So the wonderful Tanya Espanya had a story contest in which the winners would receive a book. Why?

"I need to unload the book(s) I'm ready to admit I'm never going to read to make room for new ones (that I probably won't read either)," said Toronto's cultural and travel maven.

She also said, "what if I don't like the book you sent me? Suck it up, loser."

Fair enough, her contest, her rules and she does rule, just ask the cowering Rowbear in the corner.

What were the requirements?

"You have to leave a comment telling me something interesting. Here are some suggestions but you are not limited to these:

-how you met and chose your spouse/partner
-how you picked your kid's/pet's name
-how you got the job you're in

You know, that sort of thing."

Um, by the way, everybody that entered, won.

I wanted to post the meeting of The Missus, but with the twentith anniversary of that day coming up, I had to save that. So I went with favorite honeymoon story instead...

A TV ad ripped this off, but The Missus, all the people on the boat and meself all saw it first, back in '91.

The Missus and I were honeymooning at Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica. Whilst on the beach, you could book a catamaran that would take you to different spots around the island.

The one thing about this particular boat was that they served this concoction called the "dirty banana," which I believe is coconut rum and bananas.

The trick was that the sugar would sneak up on you if you weren't too careful and you were lit before you knew it. The Missus and I were some of the few people that figured out that getting drunk on a catamaran might not be the best idea in the world.

Pretty soon everyone except the five of us who didn't heavily imbibe and the crew of the boat, were the only ones who weren't sitting on the edge or on the verge of falling off. Amazingly nobody was remotely scared, because they were too drunk and they rode each wave as if it were a rollercoaster.

We finally arrived at Rick's Cafe, a nice little restaurant where you can still cliff dive to your heart's content. You would swim off the boat, climb the stairs and then you would realize that you were all too mortal, as you stared down the cliff, some thirty feet above the water.

The Missus wasn't eager, though I was...until I got up there. Once you make the leap, it's over fairly quickly. Though the worst part of it is not the dive, but afterwards...when you look up and realize that you are some fifteen feet under the water and that you can't panic. You have to just slowly drift upward.

As drunk as everyone was, everyone realized that the best way to dive was feet first. Everyone did that until this one guy, who according to the scar on his chest was a member of the "zipper club." He had had open-heart surgery or whatever surgery that was necessary for them to make that huge incision into the middle of his chest.

Mister Zipper decided that unlike the twenty people that went before him, that he was going to dive head first. That he did and he looked quite graceful for the first ten feet down...then his feet started coming forward ahead of the rest of his body.

Now mind you, there were three catamarans worth of tourists, some people at the restaurant and some people staying at a nearby hotel all watching this. It is an amazing thing to hear over fifty people collectively gasp and then collectively go "ohhh!"

Mister Zipper landed flat on his back and sunk down, just like Daffy Duck or Wil E. Coyote in an old Warner Brothers cartoon. He did manage to get back on the boat under his own power, but his whole backside was beet red for the entire boat ride back to the hotel's beach and his face was red with embarassment for nearly as long.

There it is. So what did I win for this meandering mess that shows that I can't tell a non-fiction story to save my story?

Just what I needed, another incentive to become successful as a writer so that my family can discover all the corners of Europe. Ahh, I can smell the moussaka already. Yassou!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Not East Of The Hudson, It's Not...

"So how did you like your trip to New York City?"

"I liked it. Some highs, some lows. They sure love to throw elbows there. There was this crazy woman who got on the bus and she jabbed me in the back, right between the shoulder blades, even though she had plenty of room to pass. Then when we went to Time Square, it was like one great big mosh pit. I decided that we should turn around before we even got to the middle of that mess. We visited where Anne used to live, right over by Washington Square Park and we went to that deli that was in "When Harry Met Sally." What was the name of that, honey?"


"Yeah, Kat's, it was over on Houston Street."


"No, I saw the street sign it said 'Hue-ston."

"It's pronounced "How-ston."

"But it was spelled H-o-u-s-"

"-I know, but everybody says Howston."

"Hold on, hold on. The NFL team, you know, the Oilers, play in what city?"


"And the NBA Rockets?"


"And Nolan Ryan pitched for the 'what' Astros?"


"So what's the name of the street?"


Friday, July 25, 2008

Fear It

In Pamplona, they may run away from the bulls just once a year...

...but all year long, they fear the 'fro.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That's The Ticket

The thought that spring is for lovers is over-hyped, for love is a year round event. Do you see that couple over there? Yeah, those two, drinking each other in with their eyes. Holding hands as if this was their first relation, ever.

The sight of that couple make Tony's heart grow warm, then that forsaken feeling kicks in and it kicks him in that empty space where his heart used to be. After two happy years and just two bad hours, Josie took Tony's heart last week...along with their DVD player and the TV. She has yet to return a single one of his calls, but she kept the TV and pawned his heart.

Still, don't feel bad or worry for Tony. When he finally gets around to thinning out the scores of take-out menus that threaten overrun his kitchen drawer, he will find out that Josie left the pawn ticket for his heart, just below the only taqueria menu.

Note- Does anyone know why does Josie prays like a Roman, with her eyes on fire? Not to mention, just what the hell did Fagen and Becker mean by that, anyway?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Issue #4 Is Here!

Issue Number Four of Astonishing Adventures Magazine is finally here!

Click here at the Issu site, if you would like to view it online.
And click here if you want to buy the hardcopy version on Amazon.
John has also put together a AAM screensaver.

I Won't Be Posting This Weekend

Barring a site living up to their two week turnaround time for posting a story and them putting it up, I will be too busy to post this weekend. Amongst the things that are taking up my time...

A friend has a project that he might need input on, though the project seems to be pretty damn near perfect to me. Still, I promised to look it over and maybe by next year, you will believe that this friend is one of the better writers of our time.

So, please, take a gander at my Shelfari and the links on the right and I'll see you on Monday, maybe.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stop The Presses!

Hold everything, there's been a change and this, repeat, this, will be the final cover for AAM Issue #4-

Of course this cover tells an entirely different story and while I'm partial to the other version, this one adds so much more.

There May Be Text On My Phone, But I'm Not Texting

More often than usual at work, I find myself with my cell phone open and right thumb getting a strenuous workout. My coworkers and any strangers who happen by, believe that I am texting to-

A) A friend.
B) The Missus.
C) A mistress.

Before you think that as a writer, I am projecting these thoughts on to them, note that I've heard remarks and wisecracks mentioning just these possibilities. To be honest though, the actual answer is none of the above. I am typing in (thumbing in?) plot points, lines, poems, gags, and whatever else comes to me at that particular moment.

Now mind you, I only log in a few notes here and there. I've never done more than a page or two of actual content, tops. The screen size and 3,000 character limit per "note" tends to hamper any greater aspirations of writing a cell phone novel (keitai shosetsu), like they do in Japan.

Check out the International Herald Tribune's article on the proliferation of these novels and their perceived effect on Japanese culture.

We don't have keitai shosetsu over here and while it has done over $82 million a year in Japan, I'm sure that American publishers have looked into it and rejected it as a viable form for here.

What we do have is Crime Wav.

Seth Harwood came up with the idea of podcasting crime fiction. He teamed up with Aldo Calcagno and Jason Andrews to bring fine crime fiction to your iPod, MP3 player or computer. Next time, instead of having your brain boil over in traffic, on the subway or in what seems like a never ending could be listening to neo-noir.

They even managed to kick off the very first installment with "Must Bite" by Vicki Hendricks, author of the 2008 Edgar Award Nominee "Cruel Poetry."

Friday, July 11, 2008

The New Cover of Astonishing Adventures Magazine!

Yes, the pulp magazine is back and it's better than ever!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been granted the privilege to bring you the cover of the Fourth Issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine, just before the issue officially goes to print. Don't you think that John Carlucci did a wonderful job? Not to mention that the rain really gives her depth and a third dimension. I know that she's only an illustration and please don't tell my wife, but I think that I'm in love.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For Those Of You Coming From Powder Burn Flash

For those of you popping over here from Powder Burn Flash for the very first time, these are the stories that I have submitted there:

"Eggplant Parmigiana"

"The Post-Nuptial"

"Hot Ice And Cold Blood"


"If Twelve Were Nine"

Patti Abbott and Aldo Calcagno asked writers to post stories in the spirit of Valentine's Day and I responded with "Warmer."

Patti Abbott and Aldo Calcagno had yet another flash fiction challenge and this was was to address the increase in gas prices. Thus, "Flashpoint."

I hope that you enjoy these stories and please, check out the other ones on this blog.


Cormac Brown

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Poker Face" Is On Powder Burn Flash

Once again, the critics are unanimous in their, praise of Cormac Brown's latest story that is posted on Powder Burn Flash, "Poker Face."

Michael Chabon groans "my mother says not to bring him over again and especially not during Passover. She says that Cormac doesn't need maror at all, as he is the bitterest root ever."

J.K. Rowling says "will you tell him to stop looking at my bum?!"

Walter Mosley says "the very thought of him writing what he calls 'crime fiction,' makes me profoundly sad."

"And if you see him? Tell him to pay back all the money that he owes me, or I'm going to poke his eyes out like this."

Danielle Steele says "I base all of my villains on that rat bastard. I have given my bodyguards instructions to pummel Cormac within an inch of his life, and then they are to shoot to kill."

The ghost of Edgar Allan Poe moans "he owes me money from a previous lifetime."

Stephen King cautions "why aren't you people listening? I told you that he creeps me! Hello?! I making a living out of scaring you and he skeeves me out!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Fitting End

*Beware, spoilers abound this post!*

So I finally got around to seeing "The Sopranos" finale and let me just say that I thought it was a perfect ending. I don't think that people realize that the real ending came when Phil Leotardo was knocked off at the Raceway gas station, with his crew giving him up to keep the greater peace.

If you listen to the DVD commentary on the penultimate episode by Arthur J. Nascarella when he talks about the last read through, in which all of the principal characters do a dry run of the script...

"At the end of the table read, there was about ten seconds of silence. And Jimmy Gandolfini looked at David Chase and asked him, 'why did you end it that way?' David Chase said to him, 'I didn't want to show that crime paid...and I didn't want to show that crime didn't pay."

And that's how it should be for a show that never really was conventional. The other thing that Nascarella and Steven Van Zandt touch upon in their commentary was how Chase did such a tremendous job building up tension, with Meadow struggling to parallel park her car. Van Zandt spoke of how it had him on edge and all this while he still obviously knew the scene's outcome.

The end scene at Holsten's was a beautiful cliffhanger. Will that guy with the Member's Only jacket come out of the bathroom blazing? Or will Tony be whacked by the two African American guys, in a similar manner to what occurred with Jackie Aprile Junior? You don't know and you probably never will.

My only question about the finale is, what was up with the cat that so attached to Chris Moltisanti's picture? Was the cat the reincarnation of his father? Or was the cat the reincarnation of Adriana?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Would You Give A Book Store Reading, If The Store Didn't Exist Anymore?

I have read more than a few writer blogs about book signings where the authors lament the lack of fans...or even any audience at all. A couple of them have even mentioned the odd book store customer here and there, that manage to mistake the author for a member of the store staff and ask them the location of something.

Yet, what if the very store that you were scheduled to read at, simply folded up just before your big day? Would you flake it off? Or would you decide that you should show up anyway? Who knows, maybe a fan might not be aware of the store's status or maybe they are simply dedicated.

Well Cody's Books folded up on Friday, June 20th and Matt Richtel, author of "Hooked: A Thriller About Love And Addictions" had decided to show up, just in case a reader did and the rest is almost surreal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Writing Quote Time

Some writing quotes, courtesy of the Creative Screenwriting Weekly newsletter...

"Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are."

– Rod Serling

"Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he's there, he's not really there."

– Paul Auster