Saturday, March 14, 2020

Year 5 of an Indie Writer: Week 11

Scott D. Parker

Well, it's been a week.

I'm not going to spend much time about the COVID-19 virus because it's all over the news and sometimes, we need to step away from the news. Just for a little bit. It's good to put some distance between the constant news scrolling across our screens or the various tweets on Twitter.

This is Spring Break down here in Houston and my wife's birthday. I took two days off from the job. One day was spent here in town, having a nice brunch, catching a showing of "The Invisible Man," and ended with some excellent sushi. The other day involved us traveling to Alvin, Texas, to visit the antique mall, a lunch at Killen's BBQ in Pearland, Texas, and a Half Price Books stop. Found HELLBENT, the third Orphan X novel by Gregg Hurwitz. I love finding books you want out in the wild.

Both days had me away from the news and social media for large swaths of both days. It was a nice break, especially when we tuned back into the news and seeing our new reality set in. I'd recommend it from time to time. Remain vigilant, of course, but you don't have to be vigilant 24/7.

The two-day break wasn't the only good thing this week.

Between Stories

Over on his website, Steven Pressfield had a timely post. It stemmed from a question: What to do between books.

His answer: there should be no 'between books.'

Why? Because it kills your momentum. Pressfield paraphrases the bodybuilder Jack Lalanne: every day we miss, it is that much harder to start writing again.

Boy, ain't that the truth. I started writing a new story for an anthology this week. Yay! The opening scene was pretty easily penned in one session. Yay again. Chapter 2 not so much. I know what I am going to write--mostly--but the words didn't flow as smoothly as when I was writing every day.

But the good news was the words came. And it felt good to be writing again, especially this week.

I started on 11 March, which was my grandfather's birthday. I aim to keep the momentum going.

For both things: writing and in creating breaks from the news.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Beau Goes Subtle

Today, Beau Johnson takes on THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY from Ryan Sayles.

“Richard Dean Buckner is just the hero for our modern world: a righteous killer who can step outside convention and right the wrongs; and Sayles is just the writer to drive his story. This is how I like my fiction: unrelenting prose and kick-ass justice.” — Joe Clifford, author of Lamentation 
“The brutality is in the prose. Course and violent, Sayles writes like he is seeking vengeance against the world. It’s 21st century noir. Mickey Spillane on meth.” — Tom Pitts, author of Knuckleball 
"Brutal is right! Classic as well. Violent and lovely. Oh, and there is lots of rough justice and retribution. These are a few of my favorite things...can't wait for more from Richard Dean Buckner. Thank goodness he is looking out for the innocent."  Marietta Miles, author of Route 12

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

New novel by Scott Phillips

By Steve Weddle

Scott Phillips has a new book out & Jedidiah Ayres invited some very talented people and me over to Hardboiled Wonderland to say some things.

A few decades back, I was in Kansas, researching the works of Luigi Pirandello and Eugène Ionesco in a cavernous bookstore I’d eventually be banned from. The bookstore, suitably dark and musty with a wonderful loft that hid cheap Penguin paperbacks, opened in 1988 just off Pittsburg’s main drag, Highway 69. My girlfriend (now wife) and I took poet Henry Taylor there when he visited the university and asked us to help his search for unusual dictionaries. At the time, my money was split among rent, books, and, for a reason that escapes me now, mail-order cigars. When the duplex I was renting got too cold one winter, the woman at the Salvation Army in town gave me busted electric blankets that no one else wanted. I nailed them up along each wall, like you would in a drafty castle that had fallen intro disrepair when your mad uncle died. The draftiest wall was floor to ceiling with books, shelved on planks and cinderblocks. Most of the books had come from the Pittsburg bookstore, Mostly Books.
More at Hardboiled Wonderland

Scott Phillips

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Crime Imitating Art

It's always fun to read about a story where life may have imitated a crime film, especially when it involves a robbery (of a place loaded with money) and nobody gets hurt.  

In case you didn't hear, I thought it hard not to pass this story along, how on Saturday night at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York, three workers were moving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, when two men carrying guns and wearing surgical masks held them up and robbed them.  Their haul: over $200,000.

This is not the first time a racetrack in the United States has been hit by robbers, but I wonder if there were any such heists before 1956, the year Stanley Kubrick's great racetrack heist film, The Killing, was made.  Of course, anyone who pulls off such a robbery could also have drawn inspiration from the novel the film is based on, Clean Break by Lionel White.  You never know who reads what and maybe these two particular robbers are crime fiction readers, but if they drew inspiration from anything fictional, I'd put my money on the film more than on the book.  Their original brilliant touch -- it's hard not smile -- is the surgical masks.  How conspicuous would masks like these be in normal times?  They'd get noticed in a second.  But now, with the coronavirus fear and people all over wearing masks, these guys fit right in with the crowd.  That they would cooly take advantage of a public health scare to effect a successful heist is a touch I think Stanley Kubrick would appreciate and his co-scriptwriter on the film, Jim Thompson. 

Anyway, here's the story as the NYC paper, The Post, reported it a couple of days agoAqueduct Racetrack Heist.

Was it an inside job? That's what one racetrack employee has told the paper.  And whether the robbers will get away free and clear, who knows?  But they have already done better and gotten farther away than the group that robbed the racetrack money in The Killing.  Maybe they're sitting somewhere right now congratulating themselves on how they've done better than Sterling Hayden and his crew.  Not that, as the film shows, anything at any time, however small and arbitrary, can't trip up your best-laid plans...

We'll have to see how this plays out for the robbers.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Exercising My Rights

By Claire Booth
I'm thrilled to unveil the new covers for the first two books in my series. I've re-acquired the rights to them and so am able to use my own covers when I put them up for sale as an ebook (and as a print book, but that will come later). I found the perfect designer, who absolutely gets the vibe of the series and gave me these wonderful, foreboding, ominous covers.
They're up on Kindle as of today and will be available elsewhere soon.
The Branson Beauty on Amazon.
Another Man's Ground, on Amazon.

The series now also looks consistent. This is Book Three with my current publisher, Severn House.
A Deadly Turn.
And I'll have news about Book Four, also from Severn House, very soon.