Posts Tagged ‘CSI’

Bloody House

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
IMPA 2013

In Des Moines over the weekend, Barb and I attended the 22nd annual Iowa Motion Picture Association awards banquet. My screenplay “House of Blood” was nominated for Best Screenplay (Unproduced), and won the Award of Excellence.

The IMPA is an organization I was extremely active in from the mid-90s until maybe five years ago. I am a three-time president, and Barb and I ran the award shows (with me hosting and Barb giving out the awards) for maybe half a dozen years. I was on the IMPA board for ten or twelve years, and this required a monthly drive (about a three-hour one) into Des Moines, which finally wore us down. But I made a lot of friends there, some of whom I got to see at the Saturday night event – we had the fun of sharing a table with screenwriter Shirley Long, the “godmother” of the IMPA, and documentarian Kent Newman, also a multiple past prez of the organization. The evening of course brought to mind my late friend and prized collaborator, Mike Cornelison, who won numerous IMPA awards himself. A number of people spoke to me about Mike. Being on his home turf brings the loss sharply into focus.

The organization has hit some rough patches in recent years, reflecting the film industry in Iowa getting tarnished when an ambitious tax-credit program went belly up in a haze of scandal and buck-passing. I don’t know what really went on, but I do know this multi-million dollar program was run by one man in an OFFICE SPACE-style cubicle at the Department of Economic Development. This was a huge government bungle, and is responsible for me having to seek doing my indie film work in Illiniois and Louisiana (and California, of course). There is talk, among some legislators, of the industry making a comeback in this area, and a new Film Office chair person will be named soon. I am guardedly hopeful.

The “House of Blood” screenplay that won was the feature film version. It now looks like I will be converting the script into a one-hour TV anthology format, bringing it back closer to its original form as a 45-minute Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories radio play. Serious talk is afoot for both a series, which I’d be heavily involved in, and a slate of four movies, which I have been told would include two M.A.C. properties, possibly with me directing. I’ll keep you informed.

The keynote speakers – very informal and funny – were Darryl and Darryl from Newhart – Tony Papenfuss and John Voldstad. I spoke to John and he was a very sweet guy, and a fan of ROAD TO PERDITION. He was one of the many great comic actors in one of our family’s favorites, STRIPES.

On the way to and from Des Moines, Barb and I listened to the Brilliance audio of THE LONDON BLITZ MURDERS. That novel, which I was quite proud of at the time, received little attention when originally published, and has received some harsh reviews at Amazon and particularly Amazon UK. So I was a little gun shy about listening to it. But I was pleasantly surprised – I think I did just fine, writing a true-crime story set in the UK with Agatha Christie as the detective, even if some of the Brits at Amazon UK think I was about as convincing as Dick Van Dyke in MARY POPPINS. My credibility takes a huge jump thanks to the reader, British actress Anne Flosnik, who does an incredible job. To my ears, she really brought Agatha and the book to life. After hearing her (and Simon Vance on THE HINDENBURG MURDERS), I would be tempted to have all of my books read by actors with English accents. On the other hand, I can’t imagine a better Nate Heller than Dan John Miller. (Unfortunately, Brilliance won’t be doing the forthcoming ASK NOT – another company will be, TBA – but I will certainly recommend Dan.)

If you are a longtime reader of my work, I think you might have a really good time revisiting my novels in audio form. Brilliance has done a fantastic job with the Hellers, the “disaster” novels, the Mallorys (Dan John Miller again), and assorted others (REGENERATION, BOMBSHELL, MIDNIGHT HAUL).

Speaking of Amazon reviews, let me remind readers that a great way to support the writers you enjoy is to write and post a review at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and other sites. A two- or three-line positive review at Amazon, and nice high star rating, takes little time and is most helpful to authors. There are some dumb readers out there, and nasty ones, who do authors damage, and you can help. I speak not just for myself, but for any author whose work you enjoy. Those star ratings are important, because they are averaged. And so often the bad ratings are not for the book, but for perceived bad service, or in my case now and then, a reader angry that ROAD TO PERDITION or CSI: SERIAL turned out to a “comic book.”

End of telethon, although your continued contributions would be appreciated.

* * *

Here’s a nice SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT review from Blogcritics, which got lots of play on the Net.

And another one from BookSteve’s Library. The reviewer has some problems with the front end of the novel, because he’s so familiar with the history already, but gets on board when the mystery kicks in. It’s been interesting to see how many readers really love the front end of the book, with its fairly detailed account of the comic-book witch hunt, and how many others prefer the mystery portion that kicks in half-way. This reviewer falls into a small but distinct category of readers who are a little bored by encountering history they’re already familiar with.

Here’s a very nice and flattering review of the new edition of NO CURE FOR DEATH, from a Kindle site. This was my second novel (well, third if you count MOURN THE LIVING) and it’s a relief to see a reviewer liking it at this late date.

Finally, here’s a terrific review of ANTIQUES CHOP from Bill Crider (himself a helluva writer).

M.A.C.

New Antiques

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Antiques Knock-Off

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF is supposed to be coming out March 1st, but I am getting reports that it’s already out. I am pleased to report that Barb and I have had rave reviews from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly for this entry in the “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” series. I’m getting increasing positive feedback from readers of my usual hardboiled fare that they are digging this cozy series, which Jon Breen aptly describes as “subversive.” If you don’t laugh at these, check your pulse – you may have passed away.

One of the interesting things about the net is that reviews of older books show up. This week some really perceptive reviews popped up of various not-current works.

With ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF just hitting the shelves (our best “Barbara Allan” yet in my opinion), it’s fun to see ANTIQUES MAUL, the second book in the series, turn up on a Kindle review site. I love it when a reader “gets it” – particularly a reader who blogs. Reviewer Joe M. points out that ANTIQUES MAUL is on sale for Kindle at under five bucks!

Indian Book Reviews has a very nice review of MORTAL WOUNDS, the collection of my first three CSI novels. I’m very proud of those novels, written in collaboration with my NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU co-author Matt Clemens. We did eight CSI novels and two CSI: MIAMI, all of which are among the most successful non-science-fiction TV tie-ins of all time. Matt and I are waiting to hear if the Harrow series will continue at Kensington – if you buy copies (real books or Kindle) you will help the cause!

The fun blog Not The Baseball Pitcher has a review of my 1981 Nolan novel – FLY PAPER! Pretty decent review, too. Speaking of Nolan, I am working on a deal to bring Nolan and Jon back into print (books #3 through #8 – the first two are still available as TWO FOR THE MONEY). They will be trade paperbacks, not initially available on e-book.

Finally, I’ll mention we had a very successful two-night stand at the Riverside Casino here in Iowa. We appeared with Denny Diamond, an excellent Neil Diamond tribute act, and had great response. We are in talks right now possibly to appear at the St. Louis Bouchercon. That would be our third Bouchercon appearance, and we hope it happens, because the other two were a blast!

M.A.C.

Comic Con Update #2

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The dealer’s hall floor still overwhelms me — I haven’t yet walked the whole thing. But I continue to find things to buy, like the latest ON STAGE collection and several half-price Jack Kirby hardcovers. Lunch today with Ken Levin, my comics agent and Hollywood guy, exploring possibilities for Mike Hammer on TV and various comic book projects. The vampire detective meeting went very well, and I spoke with several other editors, including Ed Schlessinger, my old CSI editor, about possible new projects.

Most fun moment was spending time with the Riff Trax boys, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. I’ve gotten to know them in recent years and I always look forward to seeing them again — they are nice, down-to-earth guys and as funny in person as on TV. Nate and I love the Riff Trax crew — both their commentaries on new movies but also their collections of “classic” shorts with their MSTK riffs.

RiffTrax & MAC @ Comic Con 2010

Nate is very envious of my spotting Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of HOT FUZZ and SHAUN OF THE DEAD fame. They were very nice, absolutely regular blokes, and we spoke for five or ten minutes, in part about Simon’s Scotty role in STAR TREK. I admitted never having driven into Riverside, Iowa (future birthplace of Captain Kirk) despite it being (a) about 25 miles from my house and (b) having played with Crusin’ at the Riverside casino several times.

Also did an IDW panel about adapting TV and movies into comics (my connection being the CSI graphic novels). A good panel with reps from Dr. Who, Star Trek and True Blood. Not well-attended, though. The big Hollywood panels really swamp the actual comics panels. That’s part of the changing face of comic con that I am not wild about.

M.A.C.

Seduction Live @ San Diego / Daybreakers CDs

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

This has been a week of catch-up and recovery — the San Diego Comic Con is an intense experience, this time for Nate, Barb and me heightened by one of those nightmarish trips home you hear about. Weather delays and the need to go to an airport where our car and luggage would not be waiting had us enlisting my collaborator Matt Clemens for a ride from Cedar Rapids to the Quad Cities, and us not getting our luggage for another 24 hours.

So for the almost-a-week of the con, there seems to be almost-a-week of aftermath, writing e-mails to follow-up on meetings, sorting purchases, and just waiting for the world to stop reeling under your feet.

From the con I returned with a small stack (around ten) of signed SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT — LIVE AT SAN DIEGO 1999 CD’s. The signatures are mine, Bill Mumy’s, Steve Leialoha’s and Chris Christensen’s. (Miguel Ferrer was filming, though we hope to have the full band back together for whatever our next gig is.) Anyway, I can offer a few of these for $25 postpaid. Or you can get an unsigned copy for $15 postpaid. This was a limited edition of 200 and less than 75 remain.

We have about a dozen of the DAYBREAKERS — HALL OF FAME COLLECTION CD’s that are signed by all five original members (Collins, Bunn, Busch, Bridges and Maxwell). Those are $25 postpaid for signed ones, and $15 postpaid for unsigned (about 25 of the DAYBREAKERS CD’s are all that are left). The CD charts the history of the band from 1966 to date, and includes the songs heard in the two MOMMY films, as well as the infamous “Psychedelic Siren.”

Anyone who would like signed copies of both CD’s can get the pair for $40 postpaid.

Oh — all international orders must add an additional $5.

You can pay via PAYPAL…right, Nate?

[Right!]

[2013 EDIT: Actually….wrong!! All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

Some very nice reviews have appeared lately on the web. Here is a great write-up on my CSI work — books that are among my all-time bestsellers and yet have rarely been reviewed. Reading this made me wish Matt and I were still doing the CSI series:

http://somebodydies.blogspot.com/2009/08/mortal-wounds-by-max-allan-collins.html

One of the really sweet things about the con this year was the surprising number of fans who sought me out to say how much they liked the Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries. I only got to do two of those (though I do hope, one day, to do at least one more), and those books didn’t get a lot of reviews, either, so the following was much appreciated:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1574067/stripping_for_murder.html?cat=38

Quarry, however, has attracted a lot of incredible reviews — and THE FIRST QUARRY in particular has received some stellar ones. I think this one was particularly insightful, though:

http://www.helium.com/items/1349593-review-the-first-quarry

See you next week.

M.A.C.