Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rain(a poem)




it channels down streets
it sluices off roof tops
it forms black puddles
in back alleys


before it is done
it'll make this town

a soggy



Monday, April 9, 2012

Commercial Appeal

Last week, on my writer's group email board, there was a discussion about why an author's book was ranked number one in libary sales.

We found this very perplexing because when we looked at the sample, the prose seemed very sloppy-- full of all the no no's that we rail against every Monday night at the St. Louis Writer's Guild. So, we asked ourselves, what is it that made this book so appealing.

Well for starters it is topical. I mean the plot most likely is ripped from today's headlines. Also, judging from the sample, there are plenty of thrilling action sequences filled with sexual sadism and other kinds of torture. So, based on just that, it is easy to see why this might be a best seller. But, is that all it takes?

I guess I am very curious, because deep down I want to be a very commercial writer; an underground quasi interesting one only carries you so far. So, I am very big on formulas and I have put together a list of qualities one must have to be commercially minded.

  1. Conscious effort: I don't believe this author wrote his book on accident. The little I have read had a deliberate feel to it.
  2. Meticulous planning: This writer is definately not an organic one. He is a heavy outliner right down to the last tee. Again, they plan their work and work their plan. They are in full control of their story and they don't deviate from it. They also are in control of their characters and their actions. The characters are clearly drawn and the reader is not in the dark as to what their goals and needs are.
  3. They are very cinematic(I like that word) Every scene could be a screenplay page. They have movies on the mind.
  4. They are very topical. Their stories come from today's headlines. So their plots are very sensational and familiar.
These are just a few things I could think of. Personally, with myself, if I want to be commercially successful, I will have forgo writing about clowns and broaden my audience.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Care Package from Papa

Two days ago I received a package in the mail from my dad. In it was part of his collection of old paperbacks. The bulk of which were Parker novels. He included my favorites: The Rare Coin Score, The Sour Lemon Score etc. He also added The Damsel which is a Grofield novel. Then, for good measure, he threw in some Mickey Spillane: Kiss Me Deadly, The Day of the Guns and the Death Dealers. The last two novels are part of Spillane's Tiger Mann series.

Although these are meant o be collectibles, I can't resist reading the few that I haven't read before. Let's just say I am in crime fiction geek heaven right now. Thanks Papa!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Pandora Case

While I sit and wait for the release of Huey Dusk: The Case Of The Sad Luck Dame, I can't help but wonder who has read another favorite story of mine. This one is affectionately titled The Pandora Case.

I wrote it at a time when I was really getting into Richard Stark and as a result modeled the protagonist Joey Pantera, after Parker in how he is able to ruthlessly and efficiently dispatch bad guys.

I also gave an appropriate nod to Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly, in that the plot line deals with Joey seeking out a valuable mystery case that other sinister people are willing to kill for as well.

The story takes place in the Huey Dusk universe and deals with what is happening to the world. There are mysterous forces out there that want to alter it, and the case is the key.

Also, in this story, Huey Dusk makes an appearance as a young clown who is trying to make his bones with the syndicate and he makes a really twisted bad guy. He essentially is the psycho clown that everyone thought he was going to be in the original story.

You will also be introduced to some of the villians that appear in the Sad Luck Dame as well.

The Pandora Case tops out at 95 pages and is a fast read. It can be purchased for your Kindle or your Nook.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sad Luck Dame Very Close To Being Published

Today I received news that the manuscript for Huey Dusk: The Case Of The Sad Luck Dame has been sent to proofreading. That means I am that much closer to having the story go live. Very exciting!

It is always so much fun to see your stories go live. It is like Christmas morning. But it is also like eating cotton candy... it leaves you wanting more. After I publish something, I usually have a hankering to get something else published.

Right now, I am working on a spin off story from the Huey Dusk franchise. It deals with Lou Blatz the corrupt clown detective who is always harassing Huey. It is my hope it will be an even darker story than the Huey stories. That is because Lou is such a brutal and wretched clown. I guess my other challenge is differentiating it from the format of Huey which is the Mickey Spillane model. As I said yesterday, I am shooting for more of a David Goodis vibe. As a result, Lou will be much more of a sad sack clown than Huey Dusk. However, he will still be tough and ruthless.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reflections On The Upcoming Huey Story

I am thinking alot about the upcoming Huey story that I intend to write, which is good. As always the big question that comes to mind when I write these stories is what type of story I should model it after.

Well since it is not directly a Huey story and it is about one of the side characters, who is also a clown, but an even more brooding miserable one than Huey Dusk, I will channel the likes of David Goodis and maybe George Simenon and his Roman Durs(Hard Novels). Make this a hard clown novel. I should also revisit James Ellroy's White Jazz and Brown's Requiem.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance

One of the pleasures of my meager success in the publishing world is having the opportunity to rub shoulders with other up and coming talented authors. Heath Lowrance is one of those authors.

His book The Bastard Hand  should be on every crime fiction and noir lover's summer and vacation reading list. The pages turn themselves and it is a potpourri of elements from fire and brimstone preachers, supernatural drifters, gun toting gangsters, corrupt small town officials and much more.

Charlie, the main character is reminiscent of the losers who populate the hard-boiled novels of the past. What makes him different from past noir characters is that there is the opportunity and a tangled willingness for redemption.

Heath also really nailed the southern atmosphere and did not insult our intelligence with all the usual cliches. Along with that, he did an excellent job of using a topic such as incest to skillfully advance the story.

I also appreciated the fact that he gave us limited back story on the Reverend Phineas. He trusted and let the reader fill in the details of this vile creature's past.

The Bastard Hand is has some very grisly scenes. However, Lowrance never went over the top and some of those scenes were very metaphoric and brutally poetic. My favorite of those would be the two dogs fighting over the road kill on the country road. To me that summed up the power struggle and the turmoil of the story.

I would love to see a publishing house like Stark House Noir pick this one up and do a paperback release of it. It belongs right up there on the shelf with the likes of Dave Goodis, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain... and we all know the rest of list. Purchase The Bastard Hand on Amazon Kindle.