Posts Tagged ‘Bouchercon 2012’

PWA Hammer Award Video

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

I am still recuperating from ASK NOT, and Barb and I are winding up a getaway weekend in St. Louis with Nate and Abby. (We saw CINEMATIC TITANIC live, riffing to DOLL SQUAD. TV’s Frank rules.) We also saw LINCOLN, which was excellent (no riffing).

So I’m just going to wish everybody a restful and fun Thanksgiving, and share this fun video of my acceptance speech (on that boat ride Shamus presentation at Bouchercon in Cleveland recently) of the “Hammer,” the award for an influential, long-running PI series (named for Mike Hammer).

Footage provided by Eugene George


PWA Hammers it Home

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Barb and I are freshly back from the Bouchercon in Cleveland. As you may know, neither BYE BYE, BABY nor QUARRY’S EX received a Shamus award (there are no sadder words than those seen all around the net today about those two novels: “Also nominated were”). But to my astonishment, the Private Eye Writers of America presented me with The Hammer, the award honoring a private eye character who has had a long, influential run. Here’s the official language:

“The Hammer – a commendation celebrating a memorable private-eye character or series, and named after Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer – was presented to Nate Heller, the character created by Max Allan Collins.”

It was presented by my pal John Lutz, whose introductory speech was generous and gracious. Coming from a writer of John’s talent and standing made this surprise an even bigger treat. I frankly thought when John was called to the podium for the Hammer presentation that he was winning the award for his great Nudger character, until he began talking about the detective being honored in terms of Chicago, Capone and having bedded both Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield.

L to R: MAC, John Lutz

Incidentally, I believe John was on the committee that gave TRUE DETECTIVE the Shamus for Best Novel in 1984.

This was part of a delightful evening on the Nautica Queen (in the rain on rolling waters), where Barb and I (and cohort Matthew Clemens) hobnobbed with tons of writers and editors and assorted publishing folk, including (but not at all limited to) agent Dominick Abel, writer John Gilstrap, writer/editor Joe Pittman (who with Michaela Hamilton, also present, edited the Penguin run of Nate Heller), EQMM editor Janet Hutchings, Sara Paretsky, Parnell Hall, and so, so many more. The grand bash was thrown by PWA founder Bob Randisi, and beautifully organized by his significant other, Christine Matthews.

Bouchercon itself was fine, if not one of the best of these events. The dealer’s room was small, there were some unfortunate screw-ups (double-booking the ballroom where Kensington’s party was to be held), and I personally wasn’t crazy about some of the panel topics. My personal gripe was that I was in Cleveland but was not put on a panel to discuss local hero Eliot Ness (who appears in the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION, about half of the Heller novels, who I write about in his own Cleveland-centric series, and have done an Edgar-nominated play and award-winning film about). All writers have such bitches, but I think mine just might have some validity.

The panel I did appear on was fun but odd, because none of us participating cared much for the topic – MANFICTION. Even the Jon Lovitz-like moderator Andrew Gulli (STRAND editor) disavowed it, about two-thirds through. The discussion primarily focused on thrillers, and the need not to write just for men, but for human beings, which includes women. I thought Barb’s panel, on MYSTERY MATURES (older sleuths – like Mother in the ANTIQUES novels) was much better. Barb was the moderator and the panelists were a varied but articulate and humorous group – Barb did a fantastic job, very funny and deft, and you came away wanting to buy every panelist’s book. That’s the perfect panel.

The biggest disappointment for me was not at all the con’s fault. So many of my friends were not there. Some of the familiar faces that were M.I.A. (another list that could be much longer) were Charles Ardai, Bill and Judy Crider, Gary Phillips, Jeff Pierce and Jon and Ruth Jordan. Without those folks, it just wasn’t exactly Bouchercon for me. But I did get to touch bases with writer Mike Dennis, the legendary Otto Penzler (key in getting Mike Hammer back into print), and writer Dave Zeltzerman, founder of the Top Suspense Group. Again, that’s a short list – I could add Ted Hertel, George Easter, Ted Fitzgerald, Ali Karim and on and on.

Also, the opening night (hosted by Thomas & Mercer) was at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, where I saw such dizzying artifacts as the electric piano Zombie keyboardist Rod Argent used on “She’s Not There,” a guitar on which Bobby Darin composed songs, the Vox Continental used by Ray Manzarek on “Light My Fire,” and the silver-gray mod suits worn by the Beatles. Barb took pics of Stevie Nicks’ various dresses and almost got us kicked out.

On a further positive note, Barb and I (and also Matt and I) had business breakfasts and assorted meetings with editors from Thomas & Mercer and Kensington and more, and for all the doom and gloom preached about current publishing, things look bright for MAC, Barbara Allan, and the Collins/Clemens team.


St. Looie Postscript

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Bouchercon was a blast. Among many friends I got to see and spend time with were Bob Randisi, John and Barbara Lutz, Christine Matthews, Ted Fitzgerald, Jeff Pierce, Ted Hertel, Dick Lochte, Christa Faust, Deadly Pleasures editor George Easter, EQMM editor Janet Hutchings, Mystery Scene editor Kate Stine, agent Dominick Abel, editor Michaela Hamilton, Strand editor Andrew Gulli, and so many more. I can say with no humility whatsoever that the two times I signed I had huge lines, damn near rivaling the guests of honor — Barb and Matt Clemens signed with me, so I can’t take all the credit. I was part of two lively panels — one on comics, another on the future of the private eye genre — on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Crusin' at Bouchercon 2011

Along the way, I gave “shite” (my new favorite word courtesy of my new favorite pal Ali Karim) to my shy and retiring buddy Gary Phillips both on and off the comics panel, jawed with Sara Paretsky, and with Crusin’ backed our guest artists Bob Randisi, Joelle Charbonneau, Bryan Gruley, Mark Billingham and Guest of Honor, Val McDermid. Everybody was great — Bob has a fine voice and gave Elvis a run for it on “Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love,” Joelle (a stunning redhead in a green gown) had the pipes to do justice to “Be My Baby,” Mark and I did a raucous “Saw Her Standing There” while the charismatic Val joined Mark for a stirring Orbison/k.d. lang-style “Crying.” Finally Bryan blew the roof off the dump with a “Gloria” that Van Morrison might have envied.

In addition, the performance (on Saturday night) found Crusin’ very well-received with dancing from the start and applause after every tune. A rough load-in at the Renaissance Grand (as my late friend Paul Thomas said, “The ass end of a hotel is never pretty”) was the only mote in the eye of a wonderful night.

Bill Crider (with whom I also jawed, his lovely wife Judy, too) was nice enough to post a pic from the dance with some comments from attendees thereafter.

The Shamus awards on Friday were fun at the Busch brewery, where some have accused me of eating two pieces of a cake that was not quite big enough to serve the entire group. This is a libelous notion, but perhaps my losing the short story Shamus was karma….

I was honored to read Ed Gorman’s acceptance speech for receiving the PWA life achievement award, the Eye. Much deserved, and a graceful, modest acceptance from Ed, who had to remain in Iowa at the bat cave (it’s not Batman’s cave, it’s just a cave full of bats).

Some very nice web attention has come up for various of the new MAC books. KISS HER GOODBYE got a strong write-up from the L.A. Review of Books, for example.

Sons of Spade gave BYE BYE, BABY a short but very enthusiastic and insightful review here.

A very flattering review calling me the James Brown of the mystery writing game (my apologies to Gary Phillips, but after all I am the hardest working man in show business now that James is gone) appeared at Bookgeeks.

And I got a nice recommendation from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for BYE BYE, BABY.

Finally, the Library Journal had wonderful things to say about THE CONSUMMATA.

My apologies to anyone at the con I didn’t mention. There were so many friends and friendly faces that it was a very pleasant blur. Also great for Barb and me was spending time with son Nate and his girl Abby, who came to the Crusin’ dance. I am in fact still in St. Louis as I write this on the Monday after the great Bouchercon weekend, spending more time with my fantastic son (he’s fantastic even if it was his idea to go to the horrible psuedo-noir “Drive” yesterday).

Finally, a big shout-out to Jon and Ruth Jordan, the brawn and the beauty.


See You In St. Louie

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Here is my schedule for Bouchercon:

PANEL: UNNATURAL VICES-Thursday, September 15th – 2:30PM
Comics and crime fiction (Location – Majestic D)
Cullen Bunn (M), Max Allan Collins, Gary Phillips, Jason Starr, Duane Swierczynski

PANEL: I’M ALIVE AND ON FIRE- – Saturday, September 16th – 10AM
Rumors of the private eye fiction’s death have been greatly exaggerated (Location – Majestic A, B)
Ali Karim (M), Max Allan Collins, Barbara Fister, Robert J. Randisi, Linda Richards

Saturday night, presumably in a ballroom at the hotel, Crusin’ will be playing from 8:30 till midnight, with special guest vocalists joining us in the last set.

Also, Matt Clemens will be doing a panel on collaboration on Friday, but I don’t have the details. Check the schedule when you get there. Or if you aren’t going, pour yourself a glass of wine and start reading BYE BYE, BABY…another good way to spend the weekend. Beer also works. Coke Zero, too.

Ron Fortier has written a great review of THE CONSUMMATA. Ron is a terrific writer himself and his comments are always welcome.

The nifty Sons of Spade web site has posted a short but I think pretty good interview with me. The guy knows how to ask questions.

And Hard Case’s rebirth continues to get some really nice attention, such as J. Kingston Pierce’s write-up on the Kirkus blog.

Finally, here are a couple of pictures from our signing last week at one of the Chicago area’s best bookstores, Centuries and Sleuths.

Max with longtime fan and friend Mike Doran at Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park.
Barb signing ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF at Centuries and Sleuths.