Thursday, December 12, 2013

Paul Walker

The good ones always leave us too soon. I liked Paul Walker as an actor. I can't say I knew him as a person because I didn't. But  I got great vibes based on what I saw of him on screen. Apparently I was right. In his IMDB biography here is what I discovered.

March of 2010 he went to Chile and helped the victims of the earthquake.

He wanted to enlist in the army when the first Gulf War broke out.

His organization Charity Reach Out Worldwide was created to help disaster victims and the night he died, he was coming from a benefit sponsored by his organization.

And one anecdote that I heard about him was that he anonymously paid for an engagement ring for a military couple who could not afford it.

These are the things I would like to remember him for and not the fact that he died in a fiery car crash. But I have many more points to make about this guy.

Paul Walker was primarily an actor who played in action movies. In most of those movies you got just enough back story about his character to justify his credentials for what he needed to do to overcome the obstacle before him. I guess the reason I was drawn to his characters and his acting dovetails with my love for true pulp.

In true pulp there is no emphasis on character. Who the heroes and villains are come out in their actions. Off screen, the majority of Mr. Walker's actions defined him as a hero. Again, see the examples above.

I will say this even though I'm out of the loop, but I really didn't hear too much about what he did. As exemplified by his actions at the jewelry store, he acted and conducted himself off screen in a quiet manner. No pun intended, he walked the walk-- and knew how to wield the influence he had for good and obviously had genuine motives.

Again, based on IMDB, often times the Hollywood intelligentsia didn't think much of his acting. According to reports, he was once nominated for a Razzie award. I am not in that camp. I think he always played the parts that he sought to play very well. They were not deep performances, but they were solid and credible; very much the way he was in real life.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thoughts about being a hack

Good morning all! It has been awhile so I thought I would begin the day with a post. So, let's talk about being a hack.

What is a hack? A hack was a writer who was paid to crank out low grade literature, be it true crime novels, or pot boilers. They got paid by the word. As a result, the writing had a reputation for quantity taking priority over quality( this according to Wikipedia)

Their emphasis on word count also caused a very interesting writing style that was somewhat disjointed, due to mixing ten dollar words with ten cent ones. Needless to say, it is a prose style I have grown to like and slightly imitate.

Are they any hacks today? I would answer that by saying no. It is a derogatory term for authors these days and we often times refer to popular writers as hacks when we think they are just churning things out. Trust me, if hack writing was prevalent, myself and a lot of writing partners in crime would be doing it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Update on where I am as an author

Right now I feel I am living in the golden age of my writing career. A lot of good things have happened that I believe have transformed the game for me. I am starting to feel that this endeavor is moving from a hobby to a job. It's a little scary but at the same time it is exhilerating. To think that one day I might make some real money at this!

When things like these happen in your life, it makes you certain that you are pointed in the right direction.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dan Fowler G-man Vol.2

I am over the moon to see the public domain pulp hero Dan Fowler G-man revived in recent literature. With that said, let me steer you again to Airship 27, a publisher helmed by Ron Fortier. To me he and his subsequent writers have truly done justice to this amazing character of rough literature.

Dan Fowler G-man is a two-fisted FBI agent of the J Edgar Hoover days. Although he uses investigation, his methods lean more toward fisticuffs and gun work. In "the four gun blazing cases" from Airship 27's entry Dan Fowler G-man Vol. 2, you are treated to a cornucopia of action. As I said in an Amazon review, each author brings something different to the table.

  • Derrick Ferguson in "The Undercover Puzzle" brings us a straight crime story full of solid action.
  • Aaron Smith in "Monkey Business" gives us a weird supervillian that pays tribute to Chester Gould's bad guys in his Dick Tracy adventures.
  • Joshua Reynolds gives us a team effort matching up the fearless FBI agent with Jim Anthony Super Detective. In this story there is a great shoot out scene at a bank that is right out of the movies.
  • B C Smith's "Feasting on the predator's corpse" is a terrifying tale about a hit man named Chuck Dudka.  Dudka was modeled after the real life Mob torpedo Richard Kuklinski, alias "The Ice Man."  Now to be fair, some might say that Smith's depiction was too derivative of the real thing. I would disagree. I think this was a smart move and made the story easier to visualize since I have also read up on Kuklinski. Along with that, it had more commercial appeal.
Let me say again I thought all of these authors did a great job and I plan to check out their other stories. Dan Fowler G-Man Vol.2 can be purchased at either in print or for your e reader.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pulp, by Charles Bukowski

He dedicated his last book to bad writing. Pulp is truly bad writing. Or is it?

The  plot takes Nick Belane,the protagonist private eye, on a weird and wild journey through the streets of LA searching for the writer Celine who is supposed to be dead. He is working for none other than Death in the form of a voluptuous femme fatale in a red dress too tight due to as Belane puts it, to too many chocolate malts. The story degenerates from there and throws everything as well as the kitchen sink at you.

As I mentioned earlier, Bukowski is satirizing writing. On the surface he is mocking pulp fiction detective novels, hence the title Pulp. However, I also think he is poking fun at pretentious literature as well; the type that you are suppose to glean deep meaning from.

What is funny is that he beats you over the head with metaphors and double entendre. Again, this is very much how a bad writer would write; the word self indulgent also comes to mind.

Being one of the first Bukowski novels I read, it is a real favorite of mine. I can laugh a lot more  now that I am writing stories in the genre he is ridiculing.

His prose is purposely hammy and perfect for what he is trying to achieve. I think subconsciously I have taken cues from this work and a page from his playbook and started hamming a little in my prose, especially with my Huey Dusk stories.

I would also add that this novel reads more like Richard Brautigan than it does his other works-- and that is not a bad thing either.  If you are new to the works of Charles Bukowski, I would recommend this one. It is quite entertaining and a real page turner. True fans should also get this one to round out their collection.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Working feverishly on a new story.

Hi folks! Wow!! Ideas for stories are coming in on a whirlwind. But, I now have focus and am concentrating on one piece. All I can say, it is the type of story I 've been wanting to do for a long time. Looking forward to this journey and it is bound to be a pulpy one! Will keep you all posted.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Ruby Files Volume One

If you're are in need of a hard boiled, pulp, private eye fix, look no further than The Ruby Files Volume One, published by Airship 27, the top drawer printer and purveyor of all things New Pulp.

The Ruby Files Volume One showcases stories about the rugged shoofly Rick Ruby. Now, if you are like me, you'll automatically use Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer as a reference point-- or, maybe Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade or Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. Although, you wouldn't be far off the mark, those two examples are among quite a few influences. As one of the authors of a Ruby story pointed out, the series  also draws heavily on Blake Edwards's  Peter Gunn.

I would back that assertion up by saying there's a celluloid cool about the gumshoe and he makes a seedy den of smoky, sultry jazz his home. Along with that, Ruby is also one sardonic shamus who is always cracking wise; as opposed to  a PI  like Mike Hammer, who broods and has an ultra violent temper.

Being the true slewfoot he is, Ruby never resorts to vengeance or vigilantism, which would also separate him from Hammer and pull him closer to Marlowe or Spade. But like Hammer, he is very much on the side of right and has a keen affection for his lady friends; that includes a fierce loyalty to Edie, his voluptious, but, very religious receptionist -- not unlike the famous Velda who is the one that keeps Mike Hammer grounded.

What I  also like about this collection of stories is that while the setting is the pitiless streets of 1930's New York, and there is some blood and gore, the mood is breezy and the dialogue droll. Again, very much like Blake Edwards. 

The style of prose ranges from purple and dramatic, to very spare. Hard boiled slang abounds and that is fine by this afficionado of the "roughie". With that said, the creators employed the leathery pidgin with a deft hand and light touch.

"Every story a gem..."  is what the tagline reads--and you will find much truth in that shibboleth. The Ruby Files Volume One can be purchased at

Monday, July 22, 2013

What makes a poet edgy

It's been a long time since I have written a poem-- at least a year. These days I am so caught up in pulp fiction that poetry has taken a back seat. Yesterday, a long time friend posed the question, "What makes a poet edgy?" I'm not sure I have a definate answer to that question and I am not sure he was looking for one.

All I can talk about is what I have learned about poetry through writing it. In order to be a good poet you have to be obsessed with something in life.  All your poems should be about that very thing, whether it is a question, feeling or thought.  For instance, if you are writing about a barn, the images could be metaphors about love or the loss of love and as a result, you will have created a very unique and lasting picture of that barn.

Also, as put to me by another great writer, your poems should be about watercolor moments. Or, if you are edgy, they might want to be tacky velvet art moments.

When I was younger I used to think a poem did not have to have simile, symbolism or metaphor. But I have learned that poems without those elements, while well written, are like cotton candy. They are good for the moment and satisfy your immediate sweet tooth, but disolve very quickly and leave you in the same place you started.

Poems with all the poetic conventions are like biting into a medium rare filet mignon; so much richer and so much more flavor.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Update on Scandalous Silence

I am nearing the end of the first draft of my latest Huey Dusk story titled Scandalous Silence. This is the closest to being a Mickey Spillane piece because it features a vengeful Huey Dusk. In it he, like Hammer, maims the bad guys and does his best to take a stand for goodness. But, unlike Spillane, the lines are blurred and we are not sure if what Huey is fighting for is worth it; noir in a nutshell--and I will be bold and say this is the David Goodis strain of noir.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Retro Musings

As I have just recently put the finishing touches on The Doomsday Gizmo, I feel this is one of my favorite stories and am going to have good time writing subsequent yarns about this detective agency.( I'd reveal the name, but every time I think about the story, the time period it is in, I am filled with paranoia)

Again, this series of novelletes will be in a fictitious local that resembles the desert in Nevada just outside of Las Vegas. Except, that there will be no Vegas instead there will be a city quite similar to it and most likely more over the top in the kitsch of its 50's and 60's heyday. I like fictitious places and alternate time lines because you can fudge a little bit when it comes to retro pieces. In this story, my fifties is essentially the Hardy Boys, Homer Price and Tom Swift on steroids. It is full of pulpy thrills and dastardly villains and just a dollop of noir but not too much.

Again, I have found another sweet spot in the same way I found Huey Dusk. I think I have plenty of stories left in me about the protagonist of this series(name withheld because in the spirit of the story I am too paranoid).

I am also just grooving on the prose style. It is a perfection of my cinematic, purple hardboiled prose that is a perfect fit for this tale.

Friday, June 7, 2013

More About Scandalous Silence

Just thought I would check in. I am having a blast writing this latest Huey story. It is morphing into something that is bigger than I imagined. This one is a little different than the others because it deals with the effects your actions have on other people and in this case children. It is very appropriate since Huey in his own way is a champion of children. Only in this case, he finds himself not only being the savior of a child, but also one of the root causes of that child's predicament.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Yet More About The Golden Age Of Pulp

Back when I was a movie geek, there was  a distinction between low budget and I guess schlock. Alot of people would confuse the two. I was a fan of schlock and was well schooled in the purveyors of such cinema.

I am finding that there  is the same confusion in writing about pulp. And maybe it is because over time many variations of the genre have been created.

Since I have gone back to the source, I have come to the conclusion that the only true pulp is that of the Golden Age. The era of G Men, Masked Avengers, Space Opera, Far East Adventures and Yellow Peril. To me right now there is no substitute.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the other stuff, like Goodis and Thompson. But that is literature compared to the earlier pulps. I would even lump Spillane in with that class.

Real Pulp's mission is to entertain in a fantastic way. As a result, the plots should be very over the top, and in some cases ridiculous. There should be good and evil on display and the distinctions between the two should be crystal clear. So, not a whole lot of noir. The prose should be dramatic and to use one of my favorite terms, very "purple".   As expressed by Lester Dent, you need to capture the sounds, smells and scenery in vivid detail.  But, while you are doing that, you have to keep things fairly clean.

I am enjoying my stay in Pulp Land and plan to be here awhile.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scandalous Silence

As I said yesterday, this is the title of my new Huey story. I have to say I 'm a dog with a bone... and it's a cotton candy flavored one. Why would I not think I would have a blast writing about Huey again? The words flow and they taste like honey fresh from the hive. I am just loving the language of this piece. It's an aural pleasure. You know have a great story when you wile away the hours reading what you have written, over and over again.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reunion With The Clown

Yesterday I started writing Scandalous Silence, my latest Huey Dusk story. Honestly,  I figured on taking a long break from writing about my favorite funster. But, unexpected opportunities truncated the vacation. And I'm glad they did. I'm surprised, but at the same time thrilled with how much fun it is writing about Huey again. I've written about him so much that he now talks to me-- which is a reversal of what I usually feel about my characters in that it is usually me who talks to them and tells them what to do. This time the pugnacious punchinello has arrested creative control and is directing this story. OK, I'll stop with the pretentiousness and alliteration.

Sometimes it is good to take a break. Writing my previous two stories gave me lots of perspective on pulp and noir. This perspective has definitely been baked into this story. More specifically, I like the prose. It's the usual spareness as with the other Huey tales, but at the same time it's a little more loose and zesty and naturally incorporates the Spillane voice that I try imitate for Huey. But it's not just imitation. I feel I have added my own gumball, cotton candied toughness that is appropriate for the mean circus streets Dusk walks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Doc Savage

Along with a  renewed interest in paperback books, I am also discovering  good old Doc Savage by Kenneth Robeson aka Lester Dent . I loved Doc Savage even though some the covers from the seventies editions were creppy-- especially the art for the book "Hex" which has Doc holding a bloody dagger. Ahh the memories!

Doc Savage is as pulpy as you can get and the prose is so purple it is bruised. I am becoming such a fan of purple prose the same way John Waters is a fan of bad taste. I look forward to reporting more about Doc Savage as I read more.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Long Haul

While I am enjoying reading over the draft of my current story, I'm realizing I have a long way to go. I am sure if I wanted to, I could clean this draft up a little, send it in for final editing and submit it as another novella. But that's not what I want to do. It's time to stretch myself-- and by stretch myself I mean it is time to turn what I have written into a novel. This entails thinking more about the piece and seeing all the avenues I can explore when telling this tale. I also, in the second draft, want to apply something I heard last night at my writer's group: don't just describe something, live it. That's what I want to do in this story, live it. I think the more I live this narrative, the more credible it becomes to the reader; and the more I can amplify it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Convergence Of Prose Styles For The Doomsday Gizmo

As  I read through the first rough draft of my current story(rough being the operative word) I am noticing there is a collision of writing styles taking place. The clash is interesting. The prose is part Spillane tough guy, part dramatic and exaggerated purple prose, part hipster jazz, and part spine tingling cinematic horror, on the level of something you might see at a drive in movie years ago.

What I believe I have achieved is a true pulptastic piece. I truly feel that when I read through this draft I am hearing Whit Howland's voice and not others. Granted, the writing needs some refinement and the styles need to be blended into a palatable literary "smoothie", but it is hard not to marvel at my handy work.

With retro pulp, I believe I have found my happy place. Almost as happy as when I am writing about Huey Dusk. I can't stress how much fun I am having crafting this tale, and how much fun I will have penning the other stories in this series. It's just pure enjoyment!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dealing With Other Story Ideas

These days I like to stick to one story at a time. That is hard. So many ideas whip around in my head while I am working on a piece. The funny thing is that they never materialize when I'm between stories.  So, here is how I address this situation( I say situation and not problem because I think getting ideas is always a great thing and it doesn't matter when they come).

Years ago I used to keep a computer file of synopsises. But today that doesn't work because I find those ideas buzz in my ears like gnats and I eventually and start writing a first page of a story I will never finish. Here is what I today.

Now I go to my Write It Now Program and I start planning the second story. I mean meticulously planning it. I do this in my off hours when I am not working on my other story. Out of this plan comes an exhaustive outline. And I do a template for the story as well. Once all of this is done, I just leave it and go back to writing my current piece. Eventually I finish a draft of the story I am working on, and after a week's break, I go to the notes of my other story idea and I begin writing my first chapter based on the outline that I created days ago. Then the story, to use a shop worn cliche, practically writes sitself.

This strategy is responsible for my ever increasing story output. I don't know to me it's actually so important to see your ideas through.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Ok. I have had it with commas. From now on in  my posts, I plan to use them as little as possible. I understand I need them in a story for clarity-- but in my posts I am going to channel my ee cummings and start flagrantly breaking grammer rules. As for commas, I plan to violate that rule in the most unspeakable manner. I have come to this conclusion about grammer rules because I have the inability to self edit. So, I am just not going to care anymore. I think this will help bring out my rawest most inner thoughts.

Musings About The Next Huey Dusk Story

The time draws nearer to pen another Huey Dusk tale. I am thinking of returning to the story's roots which means going back an rereading the original, and rediscovering what made it so magical. But you can't go back completely. So, what I plan to do is to revisit the story and then take the concept even farther and twist it some more. With my story Twinkle Twinkle Faded Star, I tried to channel David Goodis, and I think I will do the same with this next Huey piece.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer(The 80's Television Series)

Last night I watched a Mike Hammer movie based on the TV series. I had forgotten what a gem of a show that was. Contrary to being made in the 80's, it really captured the feel of the books and the spirit of the 1950's. This was before Guilianni cleaned up the Big Apple and the show also captures the grime that was the NYC before the invasion of all things Disney.

There are alot of things I miss about this program that you do not get in today's TV. What we most lack is the colorful characters in the crime dramas of yester year. And there seems to be an absense of adults. These shows were written by adults about adult topics.

Even though the show is tame by today's standards, there was an element of sleaze to it that was implied without having to get too gratuitous.

I love this show. There are no important insights to glean from it. Just a tongue in cheek honest portrayal of the work of a great writer.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mickey Spillane, Pulp Fiction And Purple Prose

As with my last post, my love and desire for pulp fiction grows. And I am talking about the real stuff. The hard stuff. Lately, I find myself going back and reading stories from the Golden Age. The era of ten dollar words and purple prose. As a result, I want to write that kind of pulp.

Because of this, I find my prose style evolving yet once more. I used to write in a spare, bare bones style. Very similar to Hemingway. But now I have moved to a more Mickey Spillane style but I mix in a little purple prose and cinematic verse. With this, I think I have found the sweet spot.

While I am on the subject of Spillane, I have to remember that while I loved his writing, he had a lot of bad writing habits. The most glaring one was the use of passive voice. At my writer's group I get dinged for using passive voice. In Spillane's case, I think it works. It works because his style of writing was true tough guy prose. And as we know, that even though tough guys are strong, they carry around a little extra flab-- never have I known a tough guy to be a slim good body. They are rough and tumble and all action. But, ironically will express themselves in passive language. So, it is only appropriate that Spillane did the same in his writing.

Well back to me. Since I haven't quite achieved the fame of Mick, I have to employ active voice and a little more muscular writing. But, I am not adverse to writing a sentence  like " The moon is full and cast a sick light through the window". Other than writing it this way, "The full moon cast a sick light through the glass pane." Sometimes passive voice reveals the human side of a writer and shows vulnerability.

I used to write poetry and purposely used passive voice in my work. I wanted to point out that the action was happening outside of the poem and in lots of instances, we spend alot of time watching life go by as opposed to participating in it.

Now purple prose, as we all know, is another enemy of fine writing. But, I am starting to seek it out. And that's why I love pulp so much. There is something about having the ability to dramatize even the smallest detail with  overly flowery language. But, as with passive voice, I intend to use purple narrative judiciously. Throw a little in here or there-- especially in the obligatory water color moments.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Doomsday Gizmo

My desire to write 50's noir grows. As does my thirst for true blue pulp. Well, as I mentioned on my Facebook page I'm working feverishly on my new story called The Doomsday Gizmo.  It will be a marriage of pulp action, noir and good old fashion fifties paranoia. It's funny before coming up with this idea, I was completely bereft of ideas. Now they are coming in on top of each other; each one  stronger than the other.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Completion Of the Third Cain Story

As noted in my yesterday's Facebook status, I completed my third Cain story and sent it off to my publisher. It is the best out of the three. Because, like I said prior, I have hit my stride creatively. And as I close in on The Cool One, I find myself saddled with an addiction for writing period pieces-- not stories that pay homage to decades past, but a true reporduction of a Gold Medal yarn and that of other cheap paperbacks of the time. So, that means I have to follow the rules and omit any gratuitius sex scenes and keep the gore to a minimum.

For my inspiration, as always, I am drawing on the writing of Mickey Spillane. But, for my next story I  also plan to channel Orrie Hitt and Gil Brewer. My goal is to capture the sultry, sleazy, mood of those writers without having my characters actually do the deed.

So, like I mentioned earlier, I have given over to the pulp novels of the fifties and sixties and right now my focus is on immitating the thrills, titilations and the zest of those rough tales. I know I am writing for a small audience, but it is a crowd who is starving for a new purveyor of fiction of that type.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Cool One

Right now I am at the top of my writing game. I am currently working on a story I have affectionately titled The Cool One. It's a fifties flavored noir that is not too dark. With the exception of my Cain Western Series, I don't really do deep dark noir. To me when you get to that place it is hard to distinguish it from outright horror. And with the exception Joe r Lansdale, I really haven't been bitten by the horror bug. So I keep things fairly light and relatively clean.

The Cool One is another example of light hearted noir. It's not really that humorous as it is dry and droll if that makes any sense. The other point I might add is that it is a stand alone void of either clowns or cowboys.  What I am most proud of is that I have written a story where the narrator, who is third person, has personality and attitude.  And because of that, it was so much fun to write.

Also, with this piece, I had some process oriented breakthroughs. In drafts past I would agonize and labor over every sentence. But not this time. In this instance, I just let myself go and put words down on the page regardless of whether they made sense.

I feel I have finally developed my own voice. When this story is released, you'll find it is written in a more conversational and poetic style than tales past. Previously my tendency was to be very minimal with my prose. But, I find the prose in this yarn to be rich and full bodied like fine wine. So, in the future, look for my newest noir creation The Cool One.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jack Webb

"Just the facts Ma am." We all know Jack Webb as Joe Friday in 1960's series Dragnet. But, what I discovered was that he was also a crime fiction writer as well. I found this out when I was browsing the Prologue Books catalogue on . Naturally, I scooped up three titles and polished off the rest of my gift card.

Right now I am reading The Bad Blonde about a blond bombshell who is a criminal. She is involved in a nasty crime which entails disfiguring and old security guard and Father Shanley, the two fisted padre and Sammy Golden, the hard as nails LAPD detective are hot on hers and her associates' trail.

So far so good. I would say this isn't really a noir. Nor is it a police procedural. It is a crime thriller where the lines between good and evil are crystal clear. To me it is quite refreshing to read a piece that not only is  gritty, but is also spiritually uplifting.

I am also quite surprised at his prose style. It is what I would call "Clunky Kerouac". I dig it.

So, if you have some extra money, pick up a few Jack Webb titles from . Then after that, visit for more reading ideas.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Life Is Cheap

Sometimes you just have to let go and write not worrying about how it looks or sounds on the page. Yesterday I finished the first draft of my next Cain Western Life Is Cheap and I did just that. I kept a nice pace of 800 words a day and completed it in about two weeks.

I found it very liberating to just write. I think my brain appreciated it as well. Truth be told, the mind works better without a muzzle or a filter and it is good to trust it once in awhile.

In a week or so, I will go back over the story and my wife will also take a crack at it. Then we can both look at each other and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I wrote such and such a sentence.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What To Do With Story Ideas That Come To You While Working On Another Story

It never fails that when I am writing a story, other ideas for an even better tale come along. The temptation is to drop your current project and lay down tracks for the new idea. Some people can do this and manage to be productive. I can't. It reminds me of that old saying "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." We all know from life experience that it never is.

If I give into the base temptation of shirking my responsibility to my present piece of writing, and going off on what turns out to be a fool's literary crusade, I find it is like eating cotton candy; sweet at first, but it dissolves very quickly after a few bites. Well that may not the best analogy, but it's the best I can do off the top of my head. Basically, with very few exceptions, cheating on my current story with a fresher, sexier idea never works out. So, here is my solution.

First, before I reveal the magic, let me say that I used to solve the dilemma by writing that story flash down in one of my story idea files. But, I find when I do that, I grow to hate my current project even more and tend to rush through it, thus not giving it the attention it deserves in order to get to the other idea.

Again, here is what I propose. When you get a brilliant inspiration for another yarn, try seeing if and how it fits into the story you are already working on. You never know, the incorporation of this idea might lead your piece in strange and wonderful directions. If it doesn't, then oh well, you can squirrel it away for later. Or, perhaps, scrap it entirely since after thinking about it and trying to implement it, you find it wasn't all that inspired after all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Twinkle Twinkle Faded Star

Today I read over my story Twinkle Twinkle Faded Star. It's a dark pot boiler involving the corrupt homicide clown cop named Lou Blatz. He and his partner Brody are always harrassing Huey Dusk who as you know is my clown PI modeled after Mike Hammer.

Well, when I was reading it over I realized I have a damn good story. Initially, when I started out I was having trouble distinguishing it from a Huey Dusk caper. But I think I have fixed that. Lou definately stands apart from Dusk and has his own voice.

I also believe this is more noirish than any of the other Huey stories. Although Lou is just as funny as Dusk, he most definately is a bad clown. But, he has a "wounded soul and a black licorice heart" that Serena, the damsel in distress, is able to soothe and pierce. As a result, she gets him to solve the murder of her sister, a once famous movie star. However, before her death, Serena's sister was fading into into B movie obscurity, hence the title.

Also, whereas I model my Huey Dusk stories after the writing of Mickey Spillane, Lou Blatz's tale just reeks of David Goodis. No one is really all that innocent and Huey is pretty sleazy, as seen through the eyes of Lou who as I said is even more horrid.

It was alot of fun to write and I am having a great time revising. So, someday in the near future after I have found a home for this opus, look for Twinkle Twinkle Faded Star.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gunshots In Another Room: The Forgotten Life Of Dan J Marlowe

Every writer needs to read Gunshots in Another Room: The Forgotten Life of Dan J Marlowe by Charles Kelly. His experience in writing mirrors pretty much all of ours. The book does a great job of pointing out that he wasn't a top-tier writer. And financial success and fame eluded him. This doesn't mean that he wasn't a critically acclaimed writer. It is evident with such books as The Name of the Game Is Death, One Endless Hour and The Vengeance Man. But according to the biography, Marlowe was mostly scraping by and considered a genre author.

It also points out some interesting things. One of those being that he was a Republican . To me the author feels this was very evident in his approach to writing, in that he was very concerned about money and the bottom line. It was this mindset he felt that led to Marlowe watering down his character Earl Drake in The Name of The Game Is Death for his "Operation" series . Along with his political leanings the book also points out that he had  some sexual fetishes.  This made for a very complex man.  Kelly points out that his sexual proclivities  do show up in his writing. Along with that, there is a definite sense of repression that is embedded in his work as well.  

I like his work a lot. So, I need to be careful how I word this. Despite the three above examples of his brilliance, based on this biography and some of the other books that I've read, namely Shake A Crooked Town, he was a rung above being a hack. But like I said earlier, this is a pretty realistic situation for a writer. Not everyone is going to be a Stephen King, who incidentally praised him in his Hard Case novel The Colorado Kid.

I guess what I can take from this book is that, and not to second-guess the man, but if you're going to be a writer, you need to go all out and write for the love of the craft and not just money.  That is advice I need to work on following myself . Because most of the time, I have stars in my eyes.