Saturday, October 22, 2022

Give Small Businesses a Chance

Scott D. Parker

Do you absolutely, positively have to have a brand-new book the day it is published?

Okay, for some, yes you do. I remember the Harry Potter years when folks would line up to buy a book at midnight. Ditto for many of the best-selling authors I’ve read over the decades.

But for many of us, our To Be Read pile is so huge that even if we did rush out to a bookstore on publication day, that new book might first find a place on the TBR stack vs. in our hands (even if its place is in the prime position of Next Book.

Note that so far in this example, I’ve been talking about going to a physical bookstore. What about ordering a book and having it delivered?

Well, there’s the obvious option: Amazon. If you really wanted to pre-order and book and have it delivered on publication day, Amazon would most likely make that happen for you. The other online book sellers could also fulfill your request and you’d have that brand-new book in your hands the day of release.

You can have whatever opinion you want on the omnivorous nature of Amazon. I think it’s a great service, and I use it as a writer and a consumer. But as an indie author, I’m aware that there are other options.

So when, Discipline is Destiny, the latest book from Ryan Holiday was announced, I was all in. Even though I’ve not read them all, I plan to read all of Holiday’s books. They are really good and chock full of great, thought-provoking advice.

In the days leading up to the book’s publication, Holiday went on social media and let folks know that if they per-ordered the book—from any vendor—you would receive some bonus content. It was in that moment I opted to order direct from Holiday’s website, The Daily Stoic. Why not? I would be supporting a small business. 

When I placed my order, I received a confirmation email with the following.

"PS: We appreciate your order and want to remind you that we're a small shop. We use local manufacturers and family-run businesses as our partners here in America. While this means we can feel good about everything we make, it sometimes means that products take a bit longer than expected and creates the occasional logistical issue. We don't have a massive supply chain or a massive team of people working 24/7. It's just us...doing our best...just like you. Thank you and enjoy!"

I have enjoyed the book. It’s the new book so there was high demand. Ultimately it took about ten days, but those days were spent finishing another book I was already reading (Back to School Murder) so I didn’t mind at all. And I helped a small business.

So, as our attention turns to Christmas shopping, I would like to encourage everyone to support as many small businesses as possible.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Go down with Beau

This week, Beau recommends an Ali Seay book from Grindhouse

What if a victimized woman decided to be a silent guardian angel for other women and turn the tables on predatory men? What if she stumbled into the hunting grounds of a cocky serial killer while looking for her own private murder den? What if a confident killer met his match in the form of a jean-clad, whiskey-swigging stranger in an hour glass-shaped package—and she made him want things—things he’s far too superior to want?
When predator meets predator, the only question is: Is the attraction they feel to bed one another . . . or kill one another?
Meg isn’t expecting to catch Jack red-handed with his most recent victim. Jack isn’t expecting Meg to come busting through his front door while chasing her current prey. Now that each recognizes a fellow killer, what urge will win—kiss or kill?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Noir Con Returns

This year for the first time in four years, Noir Con will be returning to action, the convention dedicated to, well, all things noir in literature, cinema, television, art, and audio.  It will be virtual this year, so anyone anywhere can register to "attend", and the lineup that's been assembled is impressive.  I've gone to a few Noir Cons, when they were held in Philadelphia, in the past, and whether I was participating on a panel or not, I've never failed to have anything but a great time. I've also, as with any good convention, always managed to learn a few things.

This year, the panels and discussions kick off on Friday, October 21st at 2:30 PM EDT, and everything runs till Sunday, October 23rd at 7 PM EDT.  Some discussions will be pre-recorded, others held live, albeit, again, virtually.  Among the topics that will be discussed: the films of Jean-Luc Godard that are noir-inflected, gender and noir, Jean-Patrick Manchette and the French crime novel, Jewish noir, and graphic novel noir.

If you register, you'll have access to the entire program for 30 days after the program ends.  Interested?  I hope so.

The agenda for the whole thing is here:

And to register you can go here:

I''ll be on the panel that's held on Friday night October 21st at 6PM EDT.  It'll be on "Lockdown Noir", the best noir films or television series that we discovered while cooped up for all those months during the pandemic.  Andrew Nette will be moderating, and the panel will have Richie Narvaez, Nikki Dolson, Halley Sutton, and myself talking about our favorite discoveries from that time period.

I'm looking forward to the talk, and I hope you can make it, wherever you are.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Jessica Fletcher: Feminist Icon?


How could I not love a character that sits at her kitchen table writing a novel?

By Claire Booth

Twelve seasons. Still in reruns. Still comfort food TV. And all because of Angela Lansbury. Lansbury died at age 96 last Tuesday, many years removed but forever connected to her role as writer/sleuth Jessica Fletcher.

Murder, She Wrote ran from 1984 to 1996 and starred no one but Lansbury. Sure there was the irascible sheriff and the goodhearted town doctor, but they were merely recurring guest stars. It was Lansbury who owned the screen, taking what could’ve been a stock role and turning it into something special.

There are still best-selling books being “written” by Jessica Fletcher (actually by Terrie Farley Moran and previously Donald Bain and Jon Land). These were at my local Barnes and Noble yesterday.

That a highly rated show belonged to a middle-aged female character who was unabashedly smart while still allowed to be kind and humorous—well, that would be rare in this day and age. It was flippin’ amazing in 1984. The character wasn’t forced to be either a femme fatale or a dowdy spinster. She sometimes got flirted with by appropriately aged men and wore sensible pumps while showing a little leg, if the occasion warranted it. She made her own living and traveled the world. She didn't have to pack any weapon other than a heavy handbag.

She, in the ultimate fantasy for women everywhere, got to be all these things and successful, too.

So is it any wonder that the show lasted a dozen years? And that people, especially women, speak of it—and Lansbury—with such fondness. Not, I would argue, because she felt like a favorite aunt but because she created a feminist role model. Which made her one in real life, too.

"Jessica Fletcher was probably about as close, not to me, but to the sort of woman that I might have been, had I not been an actress." --Lansbury, in a 2010New York Times video interview done with the understanding it would not be published until her death.