Posts Tagged ‘Daybreakers’

Antiques on Audio

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Our previous update was largely about audio versions of M.A.C. titles, particularly how great a job Dan John Miller does on Nate Heller and will soon be doing for Mike Hammer, now that Stacy Keach has stepped down.

Last year, for the first time, one of our Trash ‘n’ Treasures mysteries under the joint “Barbara Allan” byline was released on audio – Antiques Fate. It was a professional job, and Barb and I were happy to have it out there, but we felt our protagonists – Brandy and Vivian Borne – needed to be more distinctly different in performance. We also felt the audio had given our book a typical cheery cozy mystery feel, whereas the Antiques books are rather subversive send-ups of the genre, with Brandy a put-upon, wry narrator, and Vivian an off-the-wall local theatrical diva. We made our feelings known, and the publisher responded by assigning the very talented, skillful Amy McFadden to the just-released-on-audio, Antiques Frame.

Amy McFadden
Amy McFadden

We are about half-way through the audio, and are delighted with what Amy is doing. She has captured both our main characters, and their narrative voices (we have first-person narration from both Brandy and Mother) beautifully. As her web site notes, “Amy McFadden has narrated over 250 titles in many different genres with a focus on Comedic Fiction, Romance, and not-super-violent Thrillers. She is an Earphones Award winner, and a four-time Audie Award finalist in Humor, Mystery/Thriller and Literary Fiction.”

Read more about her here.

Speaking of the Antiques series, we recently completed Antiques Wanted. I interrupted work on the Eliot Ness/Al Capone joint bio to work on it, when Barb delivered me her rough draft. I also have been working on a Spillane book for next year’s centenary of his birth, completing an early ‘50s novella, A Bullet for Satisfaction, and editing his last solo novel, The Last Stand, for joint publication by Hard Case Crime. Should be a very special book – Mickey finished The Last Stand a few weeks before he passed.

* * *

Gregg Allman died at home last week at age 69.

I admit to not being an enthusiast of Southern Rock, but Allman’s talent is inescapable. I did not know him, but we intersect in an interesting way.

In 1967, as some of you know, my band the Daybreakers went to Nashville to record. My father had been a high school music teacher and one of his students became a successful country western artist – Jack Barlow. Barlow’s producer was Buddy Killen, the top music publisher in Nashville – his Tree Music was where Ms. Tree’s name came from, by the way. Killen, a very nice, sophisticated man, was also a major Nashville producer. He agreed, as a favor to Barlow, to record and produce a session with the Daybreakers. We figured we’d go home with something professional to release locally.

Killen had some top country artists on his roster, including Barlow. But he also had a major r & b artist, Joe Tex, who was released by Atlantic’s subsidiary, Dial. The Atlantic execs had told Killen he needed to round out his roster with a rock act, so he was on the lookout. After our session, he signed us to five-year contracts and, in early ‘68, “Psychedelic Siren” was released. It became a regional hit, and has since become oddly famous, covered any number of times by other groups, and included on various compilations of Sixties garage band rock. To some, it is my major claim to fame.

But back in 1967, times changed in a short time span, with our Paul Revere & the Raiders/Turtles approach dating almost immediately – we heard “Purple Haze” and “Light My Fire” on the radio, driving back to Iowa, and exchanged a collective, “Uh oh.” We learned those two songs at our next practice.

Where does Gregg Allman come in?

Well, Killen signed one other rock act – a group called, at the time, the Allman Joys.

“They were really way ahead of their times, I realize now,” Killen said, talking about the Allman Brothers, not the Daybreakers.

Our one Dial single was DIAL #45-4066. The Allman Joys’ “Spoonful” was DIAL #45-4046. A recent E-bay auction brought $89 for the Allman Joys single. But “Psychedelic Siren” went for $199.99.

Either way, Killen dropped us both.

* * *

Here’s a nice article on why the Road to Perdition film is an overlooked masterpiece (they left out that I created the story, though).


What, Me Retro?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I was watching the pilot of the Cinemax QUARRY with my wife, son and daughter-in-law (don’t tell HBO), and Barb turned to me when the character the Broker first entered and nudged me and smiled and said: “You did that.”

Well, I did, but a long, long time ago. About 43 years. At the Writers Workshop in Iowa City, where the instructor didn’t like the opening chapters I’d written very much, and most of the class wasn’t wild about it either.

At 67, I suddenly find myself aware of how very long I’ve been doing this, and am gratified that suddenly a lot of what I’d thought to be ephemeral works of mine are turning back up in print, and getting on the radar of a new generation or two of readers. Some of what I’ve written has almost by definition been ephemeral – specifically the movie novelizations and TV tie-in’s – though SAVING PRIVATE RYAN remains in print and a publisher is seeking permission from DreamWorks to do a hardcover edition.

But almost everything else with my byline is available again or soon will be, much of it from Thomas & Mercer, but also such boutique publishers as Perfect Crime, Speaking Volumes and Brash Books.

For these weekly updates, I routinely do a Google search to see what reviews and such have popped up on the Net, for me to provide links here. More and more I am surprised to find write-ups about older books of mine. It’s almost jarring, because often the reviewers are more familiar with the work than I now am.

Of course, the new Hard Case Crime editions of the first five Quarry novels have sparked interest, and in particular QUARRY (the first novel) has received some gratifying attention. Here’s one such write-up.

And here’s another.

And one more.

Fairly regularly, somebody comes along and praises either the entire “Disaster Series” or singles out one of the books in particular, like this piece that focuses on THE LUSITANIA MURDERS.

So many of these reviews of older work of mine just seem to appear out of the blue, like this look at the Eliot Ness novel BULLET PROOF.

But nothing could prepare me for this article specifically focusing on the musical side of my years on the planet, discussing both the Daybreakers and Crusin’.

Here, dealing with a somewhat more recent novel, is a nice review of the Jack and Maggie Starr mystery, STRIP FOR MURDER.

Coming full circle, the just published FATE OF THE UNION is pulling in some nice reviews, like this lovely one from Bill Crider, a writer I much admire.

Finally, my pal Ed Gorman brought in Ben Boulden of Gravetapping to review FATE OF THE UNION on Ed’s terrific blog, also a positive review.


Wrath of Con

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This weekend in Iowa City, I’ll be a guest at the Iowa City Book Festival.

My programs are:

Adaptation – Books Into Film panel, Sat, July 17 at noon in the Bijou Theater, Iowa Memorial Union. The Bijou is located on the first floor of the IMU. I’ll be appearing with Phil Robinson (Field of Dreams) and Nicholas Meyer (Wrath of Khan).

The Last Lullaby screening, Sun, July 18 at 3 p.m. in the Bijou Theater, Iowa Memorial Union. After the screening I’ll conduct a brief question and answer session with attendees.

You can read more about it here.

Right now I only have two panels set for the San Diego Comic Con (coming up July 21 – 25). And, of course, they are simultaneous.

Yet somehow I will be on both. I’m just that dedicated. Here’s the line-up:

Friday, July 23:

5:00-6:30 Scribe Awards/Media Tie-in Writers Panel— Presenting the fourth annual International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) “Scribe” awards, honoring such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, and Dr. Who. Nominees on hand include Alina Adams (As the World Turns), Max Allan Collins (G.I. Joe), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Star Trek), Stacia Deutsch (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Jeff Mariotte (CSI), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Dayton Ward (Star Trek). With moderator Collins and awards presenter Lee Goldberg (Monk). Room 4

5:30-6:30Vertigo: On the Edge— Find out what compelling tales comics’ edgiest imprint has in store for you in the months to come! Led by senior VP/executive editor Karen Berger, the all-star lineup of talent includes Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire), Gabriel Bá (Daytripper), Cliff Chiang (Neil Young’s Greendale), Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition), Joshua Dysart (Neil Young’s Greendale, Unknown Soldier), Peter Gross (The Unwritten), Matt Kindt (Revolver), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Peter Milligan (Greek Street, Hellblazer), Fabio Moon (Daytripper), Chris Roberson (iZombie), Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables), Jill Thompson (Little Endless), Bill Willingham (Fables) and others. Room 6DE

How will I be on both panels? Well, I’ll be moderating the tie-in panel from 5 to 6, then slipping out during the Scribe Awards and joining the Vertigo panel for its last half hour. See you there – somewhere!

The Daybreakers reunion (on July 10 for the Class of 1970 at the Hotel Muscatine Ballroom) was a big success. Frankly, we killed. We had a very modest rehearsal time to prepare over 30 songs – just one morning and afternoon, plus a sound check the next day – but the crowd was supportive and danced and clapped all night long. We wound up doing three encores, which was tricky since we’d already done the 32 songs we’d learned for the gig. We pulled “You Really Got Me” and “Money” out of our nether storage compartments, and then repeated “Mony Mony.”

Great, great fun playing with these guys again. Chuck Bunn and I still play regularly together in Crusin’, but having drummer Buddy Busch and guitarists Dennis Maxwell and Mike Bridges up on stage with me again was memorable and even moving. Buddy, Denny and Mike were all Class of 1970 grads, and three of our late bandmates – Paul Thomas, Bruce Peters and Terry Beckey – were also in that class. So this was an ideal audience for us, plus Charlie Koenigsacker and a few other hardcore Daybreakers fans showed up, too. Wonderful night. As Paul would have said, “Rock ‘n’ roll happened.”

Check us out with another You Tube clip from our Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame concert appearance in 2008. We’re doing a song by our late bandmate Bruce Peters, “I Need Somebody.”


Post July 4 Bangs

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I’m happy to report two more stellar reviews for THE BIG BANG.

That first-rate writer Mel Odom, whose Bookhound is a lively site combining prose novels and comics, has some lovely and insightful things to say.

Then from Charleston, South Carolina (Mickey’s adopted home state), the Post and Courier gives THE BIG BANG a down-home rave.

Charles Ardai’s latest Hard Case missive has (as usual) gone out to a number of sites, but I’m giving you like a link to my pal Bill Crider’s, which remains among my top, most-visited sites on the net.

A good new small press publisher called Perfect Crime is doing some interesting things, including books by two of my best friends in the business (or anywhere), Ed Gorman and Bob Randisi. Among several Randisi projects is THE SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS volumes 1 and 2. For Nate Heller fans, Volume One may fill in an important gap: included among the stories therein is the Shamus-nominated novella DYING IN THE POST-WAR WORLD, which has never been reprinted before (since its initial appearance in the very out-of-print collection of the same name).

And Quarry fans may be relieved to learn that I’ve signed with Perfect Crime books to reprint the first five Quarry novels in individual volumes. Cover artist will be a guy named Terry Beatty you may have heard of. We are using the re-titling from the Foul Play ‘80s reprints, and PRIMARY TARGET will get a new title, to make it “fit” the titling pattern of the others: QUARRY’S VOTE.

This week will largely be devoted to musical pursuits. I have a rehearsal with Crusin’ early in the week (still prepping for the July 29 Great River Days concert with the XL’s). Then the rest of the week will be spent prepping and rehearsing with the original Daybreakers – Mike Bridges, Buddy Busch, Denny Maxwell, Chuck Bunn and myself – with our first full gig together since 1968. We are playing the Class of 1970 reunion at the ballroom at Hotel Muscatine on Saturday night, July 10. Daybreakers fans who aren’t class of ‘70 grads are welcome to come and pay a five-buck cover…if so, show up around 8 p.m. The boys are coming from hither and yon for this, and it could well be the final appearance of the original line-up.

And, yes, we will be playing “Psychedelic Siren.”