Archive for the ‘Message from M.A.C.’ Category

Must Be Raining, ‘Cause We’re Talking Arc

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Paperback:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

This going to be very brief, as I am starting work on the new Mike Hammer (Masquerade for Murder), again working from a Spillane synopsis with a few snippets of his prose to work in. The early chapters are always the hardest, getting the tone, getting into the swing of it, and just generally building momentum.

I had a nice response last week from readers interested in getting advance copies of Do No Harm. Interestingly – and disappointingly – not a one asked to see Girl Can’t Help It. I hope readers of Quarry, Heller, Hammer and so on will give this series a fair try. This book has particular meaning for me because I’ve finally – after all these years – really engaged with my rock ‘n’ roll background in the telling of a crime story.

As it happens, I already have on hand Advance Reading Copies (ARC’s) of Girl Can’t Help It, but am hesitant to start sending any out, since the book won’t be available till March 10.

As for Do No Harm, I have yet to ascertain whether there will be Advance Reading Copies at all – if we have to wait till the actual book exists, that will complicate getting reviews out there early enough to do any good. Publishers are starting to send out mostly e-book versions of ARC’s, which sucks. Stay tuned.

I also have not received a supply of Killing Quarry ARC’s, but some are finding their way into reviewer’s hands. A nice write-up is included below.

The readers who wrote interested in doing reviews (thank you, all of you) are mostly veterans of the Book Giveaway Wars here (and there will be more of those). I am building a list (finally) of you loyal reviewers. But I’m frustrated that so few bloggers and other on-line reviewers were a definite minority among those who responded.

Apologies for the brevity this time, but here are some interesting links to make up for it.

This one is a review of Quarry, the first novel I wrote about the character (not the chronological first – that’s The First Quarry), and the third novel I wrote if we start with Bait Money as the opening gun. (Mourn the Living proceeded it, but didn’t get published till years later. Also, there were four full-length novels written by me in my junior high and high school years, never published…thank God…but the reason why I got fairly proficient early on.

This is another nice write-up, mostly about the Quarry books, from a reader who admits having trouble keeping up with me. Here’s the thing, for those who are dealing with my prolific nature: first, I am trying to make a living; and second, I can only write books while I’m alive, so I’m using the time as best I can.

Here’s a write-up about comic book tough girls, and Ms. Tree gets some nice ink along the way.

And here’s that early Killing Quarry review I promised you.

M.A.C.

What Can You Do Today?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

I know what you’re thinking.

What can I do today for Max Allan Collins?

Thanks for asking. Here are several suggestions.

Girl Can’t Help It – the sequel to Girl Most Likely – comes out on March 10, 2020. So does the new Nate Heller novel, Do No Harm, the first in several years – the Sam Sheppard Murder Case novel. I am prolific enough that this kind of thing (dual publication) happens from time to time, because I work with more than one publisher (and they do not coordinate releases with each other). This causes certain problems, as you might imagine, because promoting two books at once is less than ideal.

The future of other books featuring the respective series characters in these two very different novels is riding on the success of these new titles. That’s hardly unusual in the publishing world today, where publishers who for many decades gave writers like me multiple-book contracts now offer one-book contracts. The freelance writing trade has always had its insecurities, but this is a new low.

What can you do to help? Advance order one or both novels at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM! or whoever your favorite on-line bookseller is. That will help me out while not putting you in the position of having to buy two M.A.C. novels at the same time next March, straining your wallet and the credulity of the B & N clerk.


Paperback:
E-Book: Amazon
MP3 CD: Amazon
Audio CD: Amazon

Hardcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

What else can you do?

If you have a reviewing blog or such-like (these updates of mine fall into the “such-like” category) you can e-mail me your snail-mail address and I will get you an advance copy of the book you wish to review, as soon as it’s available. Advance reading copies (ARCs) will be available fairly soon. If you want to review them both, just say so.

You will not be expected to write a rave, just to write an honest review. Mixed reviews are fine and negative reviews are legal (but be gentle). Write me at macphilms@hotmail.com.

This is only for on-line reviewers. Help me build a mailing list for readers of mine with review columns (or who review at times within a more eclectic column, like, oh I don’t know, this one).

For the rest of you, I will be doing giveaways when we get closer to the pub date of both books (which, as I say, is the same date). A new Quarry (Killing Quarry) is coming in November of this year. The Untouchable and the Butcher by A. Brad Schwartz and me is set for next May – another massive tome, and in conjunction with Scarface and the Untouchable will be the definitive work on Eliot Ness. There will be a new Caleb York novel, Hot Lead, Cold Justice, also in May.

So there will be plenty of M.A.C. to read. But if you are a Nate Heller fan, I do need your support, because there’s nothing harder to keep going than a long-running series that doesn’t star a household name like Bosch or Reacher. Even my Mike Hammer novels (and Hammer is a household name, or used to be), co-written with Mickey, are almost never reviewed by the trades (Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal). There are exceptions, of course – Killing Quarry has been reviewed by all those except Library Journal (so far), and very favorably.

What’s on the docket for Heller are two novels completing the Kennedy cycle – both RFK-oriented one dealing with the Hoffa feud, the other with Bobby’s assassination. But I have no contract for those books yet. I am considering Martin Luther King, Watergate and the Zodiac to round out Heller’s career, but I have to have a publisher to do that. And it takes readers to encourage a publisher.

So. As I recall, you asked what you could do for me. Let publishers know you’re interested. Pre-order both Girl Can’t Help It and Do No Harm, and do so with my thanks. And Krista and Keith Larson’s. And especially Nate Heller’s.

* * *

Speaking of Do No Harm, here’s a nice advance write-up from Craig Zablo.

Nice Ms. Tree: One Mean Mother write-up from Mystery Tribune.

Here’s another nice review of Ms. Tree: One Mean Mother.

M.A.C.

Crusin’: One More Time, and Ms. Tree: One Mean Mother

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

My band’s “season” is winding down – we have only one gig left, in a couple of weeks. Crusin’ has been playing outdoor gigs at scenic Ardon Creek Winery in recent years – I believe this was our fourth (maybe fifth) appearance. We had 365 people for the fresh-air event, which made us the second biggest draw in the venue’s history (“That’s the second biggest draw I’ve ever seen!” – Maxwell Smart.)

The weather was beautiful, the audience responsive, and the only drawback was I forgot how dark it could get by the time the third set rolled around (we began at sunny six p.m. and closed out at stygian nine). You will note the improvised lighting on the picture of us playing.

We already have lined up two of the three jobs we’ve decided to do next summer. The other one will likely be at the Brew for the Fourth of July. That doesn’t mean we won’t respond to phone calls seeking to book us, but we won’t be actively seeking any.

For me, seriously considering rock ‘n’ roll retirement comes down to the setting up and tearing down – I’m dealing with two keyboards, an amp, and fairly elaborate pedals and so on to hook up. It can require a lot of bending, kneeling, standing, repetitiously. While I am in generally good physical condition, I have side effects – dizziness, balance issues – from the handful of meds I take each morning. Barb has been helping me set up, which has been a real boon, but she was down with a cold and couldn’t make Ardon Creek. After three hours of playing, the tear-down and loading (and returning home to load back out) is a drag, as Paul McCartney said asked for his response to the news of John Lennon’s murder.

What is keeping me going is the desire to do one more original material CD. The plan, as I’ve mentioned here, is to do the CD over the winter and sell it at the three bookings and offer it here (and on CD Baby). It will (if it happens) include 9 new songs and three songs from “Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market” that have never been on a CD; these mark the last recordings with my longtime musical collaborator, Paul Thomas, who also produced the tunes.

Photos of the Ardon Creek gig are by our guitarist Bill Anson’s son, Scott Anson, who also ran sound for us at Ardon Creek. He plays bass with his dad and his dad’s brother Dave (a gifted guitarist) in the Anson Brothers Band.

* * *

There seems to be some nice buzz about the first of the five Titan Ms. Tree collections, Ms. Tree: One Mean Mother. I will provide some links to some of the coverage, and it feels good to see fans saying how pleased they are that these books are happening.

Let me address the one complaint, though I believe I’ve already talked about it here, so forgive my redundancy. I made the determination to lead with the DC material, the ten graphic novellas we did for Ms. Tree Quarterly – the last published Ms. Tree comics to date. This was in part because we had already collected the earliest stuff in trade paperbacks back in the day. But also I felt this was strong material, perhaps our strongest, and wanted to lead out of strength.

Additionally, five of the ten DC novellas form (somewhat loosely I admit) a single graphic novel, while the other five are stand-alone stories, not tied to ongoing continuity (at the time). So the DC novellas have been rearranged into the graphic novel and a “casebook.” Anal retentive fans who want to have the material in published order will only have to put up with my desire for shuffling those ten stories in that fashion. Volumes three through five will print everything in order, with one continuity leading into another and bringing the ramifications along for the ride. (A few oddball standalone stories, like the one in the 3-D comic book, will be dropped in here and there, and the Johnny Dynamite crossover will appear in the Johnny Dynamite collection that Terry Beatty and I are editing for Craig Yoe. I wrote the intro for that last week.)

My understanding is that the early volumes of collected comics are invariably the bigger sellers, which is another reason to (a) put our best foot forward, and (b) collect material previously ungathered.

So my advice to any of you lovely, wonderful if anal retentive fans – when you put the books on the shelf, start with volumes 3, 4 and 5, and then add on 1 and 2. (But buy them as they come out!) Since they aren’t numbered on the spines (or anywhere else), you will only have to suffer minor distress.

* * *

Here’s a nice example of the coverage the Ms. Tree: One Mean Mother trade pb from Titan is getting.

The delightfully titled site Comics for Sinners covered us this way.

Here’s another.

But wait, there’s more!

M.A.C.

Ms. Tree Gets Hers Today

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Paperback:
E-Book:

Today is the publication date of Ms Tree 1: One Mean Mother from Titan. I don’t know how much presence it will have in the graphic novel sections of Barnes & Noble, BAM! and so on, but it’s available from the usual online suspects (Amazon has it for $17.49, 30% off the retail price).

I’ve already gotten some complaints over my beginning the reprint series with material from the last iteration of the comic book, DC’s Ms. Tree Quarterly. We did ten graphic novellas there, and One Mean Mother gathers five of them, which together form a graphic novel, admittedly an episodic one.

The remaining DC graphic novellas are free-standing, and will make up the second of these five collections, which will comprise the complete Ms. Tree – almost. A few crossovers are not included (notably the P.I.s mini-series, which co-starred Mike Mauser) and the story in which Ms. Tree tracks down a certain long-missing private eye, which will appear next March in Craig Yoe’s Johnny Dynamite collection, which Terry Beatty and I are editing. (I am working on the intro today.)

But these five volumes are the body of work that I am very pleased to have in this format. Why start at the end? Well, I feel it’s our best work, and it was done in color, so I’m just putting our best foot forward. I have been told that when several volumes collecting a strip or comic book feature are published, the first volume sells the best and the sales gradually go down. Also – though it was many years ago – the first issues of Ms. Tree (and the serialized “origin” in Eclipse Magazine) have already been collected in three trade paperbacks.

Our celebrated letters column (SWAK!) will not appear or even be excerpted. They are so politically incorrect, I would probably be jailed, or at least shunned. Times have changed, although not enough to make our then topical subject matter seem dated. It’s a sad fact that most of the crimes and problems these continuities deal with – abortion clinic bombings, gay bashing, date rape – are still very much with us.

If you aren’t familiar with Ms. Tree, she is basically a take on what would have happened to Mike Hammer’s secretary/partner Velda had she and Mike married, and the groom been murdered on their wedding night. The answer is two-fold – she would take over the business, and her first case would be tracking down her husband’s killer. This does not mean Ms. Tree is Velda – each is her own woman. But that “what if” notion was our starting point.

The other thing you should know is that Ms. Tree was the first of the wave of tough female private eyes that became an ‘80s phenomenon in mystery fiction – pre-dating the great V.I. Warshawski and Kinsey Milhone by my friends Sara Paretsky and the late Sue Grafton respectively.

We’re proud of that fact, which was noted in a really nice three-part article here (Ms. Tree gets a lot of space in Part Two but the entire article is worth visiting).

Even if you have the original comics, this series of Ms. Tree volumes is something you need for your bookshelf. You also need to tell your friends about the books and urge them to get onboard. I’m just trying to be helpful.

Comics scripting has always been a secondary part of my career, and to some comics fan I’m still best known for my “abysmal” year of Batman (subject of a recent podcast by nimrods with nothing worthwhile to be doing). To most, Road to Perdition is my claim to fame (or anyway less infamy), and I do think that graphic novel, in many respects, is my best single work. Others might cite my fifteen years writing the Dick Tracy strip, and I’m of course proud of that. But I think the most influential and probably important work was what Terry and I did on Ms. Tree. We didn’t just jumpstart female private eyes, we re-introduced tough crime/mystery to comic books, and paved the way for a lot of people to do their own good work (some were fans of ours who frankly seem to have forgotten that).

So if you are a reader of my prose fiction, and think comic books are for the boids, you really should bite the bullet and buy these five books, as the volumes gradually emerge from Titan. No less an expert than Kevin Burton Smith of the great Thrilling Detective web site considers Ms. Tree my greatest creation, topping even Nate Heller and Quarry. I’m not sure he’s right, but I’m not sure he’s wrong, either.

One thing is indisputable – Ms. Tree was the longest running private eye comic book to date…sixty issues plus various “specials.”

Lots of coverage on the net about the first of the Ms. Tree collected volumes has popped up. Here’s just one.

Jerry House did something everyone should do: he read seven novels by me in a week and a half. See what a piker you are? Then he produced one of the coolest, and I will immodestly say insightful, pieces ever written about my work.

Finally, here’s a really nice look at the Cinemax version of Quarry.

M.A.C.