Posts Tagged ‘Dick Tracy’

Morgan The Raider #2: 44 Years In The Making!

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I have just completed THE CONSUMMATA, the Morgan the Raider novel of Mickey’s that I finished for Hard Case Crime. It just went out via e-mail to editor Charles Ardai a few hours ago. I’m very pleased with it, but it was a tricky one. Mickey had completed 108 double-spaced pages, but this time I had no plot or character notes. Even the evocative title itself (which had been announced by Signet Books many years ago) went unexplained. It required really getting inside the manuscript, and Mickey’s head, to figure out where he was headed…and I think I pulled it off.

So finally, the sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR, the second Morgan the Raider novel (Signet Books announced modern-day pirate Morgan as Mickey’s new series character with great fanfare), will appear…with Mickey’s fans only having to wait 44 years.

My technique I’m sure would dismay purists. I expanded and revised Mickey’s hundred-plus pages, weaving my own scenes and thoughts and style in and around his, so that his material appears deep into the book, nine of its thirteen chapters. (I created no new characters, however, and my plot strictly flows out of things he put in motion.) I get a lot of praise (much appreciated) for the seamlessness of these collaborations, but it’s because I treat them as collaborations – and don’t just “pick up where Mickey left off” that they are able to achieve what they do.

This is going to be an extremely big year for me, at least in terms of how much stuff will be out there. I will do a post on that subject either next week or soon thereafter.

The First Quarry Audiobook
The First Quarry Audiobook

One thing that is out right now is the audio book of THE FIRST QUARRY. I haven’t heard this yet, but it’s the same reader (Curt Palmer) who did THE LAST QUARRY, and he’s excellent. This company, Speaking Volumes, will be doing more Quarrys – all the Hard Case titles and perhaps the early books, as well. It’s only $19.95, very reasonable for an audio book.

Vince Keenan considers THE BIG BANG one of the best books of the year. Hey, Vince – me, too!

The Sons of Spade website went even farther, calling THE BIG BANG the best P.I. book of the year.

This is very gratifying, and we showed up a few other places, too, but mostly were overlooked. This is the first year in a while that Bookgasm hasn’t listed me on the best books of the year. As I have made clear here before, I despise these lists, and give them absolutely no credence…unless I am on them.

There’s a lovely post about THE GOLIATH BONE, which posits a movie version and presents a dream cast. Very much worth checking out, plus I posted a comment you may find of interest.

There is a very interesting piece about the BATMAN character Two-Face and the similar Haf-and-Haf character in DICK TRACY, discussing my work on the latter and referencing my BATMAN work in general. I provided several comments and you may find the back-and-forth interesting.

Finally, the contest remains open for anyone who can identity my two sections of the Top Suspense Group “Round Robin” short story (see below for details). So for nobody has won. Well, almost nobody…my son Nathan pegged ‘em. Nice going, Nate! Too bad you don’t need any M.A.C. books….

M.A.C.

You Only Blog Twice

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This week’s Quarry cover is QUARRY’S DEAL. Another great Terry Beatty cover. Ordering info here.

Quarry's DealNate has been in Japan for several days now, and he’s doing a blog (daily, so far). He is posting beautiful pictures and great, often very funny commentary. He is a very talented young man and his father (me) is proud of him. So you get two blog entries this week; this one from me, and this one from Nate.

Because Nate is in Japan, I’m working a few days early on this update, to give him plenty of room to get it put together and posted. So it’s October 30 in Muscatine, Iowa, a beautiful fall day with lots of color in the trees and chill in the breeze. Tonight is the “official” local Halloween night, and I’ve carved the pumpkin (I’m damn good at it – ask Nate) [Nate:It’s true!] and Barb is putting a bunch of scary stuff on the porch…ours is one of the houses the neighbor kids flock to, although some of our goodies are getting long in the tooth (we had to throw away a talking skeleton head after years of noble service).

We’ve been watching horror movies, and Barb – who for decades didn’t like them – is now a fan and catching up. We watched the very funny RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD from the late, great Dan O’Bannon. Our favorite Halloween movie, though, is TRICK ‘R’ TREAT, and if you haven’t seen that wonderfully dark, funny anthology movie, put it on Netflix for next Halloween season. It looks great on Blu-Ray. (So does RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, which features my old pal Linnea Quigley, with whom I almost did a comic book project some years back).

This weekend I am zeroing in on the conclusion of RETURN TO PERDITION, and next week (now, as you read this) I’ll be writing the next DICK TRACY introduction. Nice to have a connection to TRACY again. Next up is THE CONSUMMATA, the DELTA FACTOR sequel by Mickey Spillane that I am completing for Hard Case Crime.

Next year is going to be a big M.A.C. year. Barb and I have ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (by “Barbara Allan”) coming out in March, and that same month from the same publisher (Kensington), Matt Clemens and I have NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU out. In May the third of the Mike Hammers appears – KISS HER GOODBYE (do not miss this one) – and in August BYE BYE, BABY, the first Nate Heller novel in ten years. Some time next year, QUARRY’S EX will come out, as well. And from DC/Vertigo, RETURN TO PERDITION.

This will no doubt initiate a bunch of “when do you sleep” questions (and putdowns), but the fact is BYE BYE, BABY has been done for well over a year, and three of the titles are collaborations. RETURN TO PERDITION is something I’ve been working on for a year and a half. QUARRY’S EX, of course, was supposed to come out this year and was postponed. What I fear is that some or maybe all of these titles will get lost in the shuffle because there are so many of them. And that drives me crazy, because each of these books is really strong. I get beaten up and sometimes ignored because I am seen as “prolific.”

But I have no intention of slowing down. At 62, I am not fooling around – I have stories to tell. I even have band jobs to play. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of my first professional sale of a novel – BAIT MONEY to Curtis Books. The following two years will mark the 40th anniversary of me as a published professional (BAIT MONEY came out in December 1972 but was a January 1973 book).

So if any of you connected to writer’s organizations (the MWA has had enough yearly dues out of me to afford to make a statue of me for their lobby, if they had a lobby) or mystery conventions or mystery magazines (attention: Kate Stine) are interested, 2011 is a perfectly good time to start the career tributes and to book me as a guest and to just generally make a fuss. I’m available. I’ll even bring my rock band along.

For a price.

Here’s a fun fan review of my Batman graphic novel SCAR OF THE BAT. Nice to see something from a few years back get noticed now.

M.A.C.

Returning to Perdition

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I am back at work on Return to Perdition – strictly on the front burner now. I’m inspired by Terry Beatty’s great artwork. I hope this graphic novel, the conclusion to the Perdition saga, is out next year some time. Some of the characters and events intertwine with the Marilyn and Kennedy Nate Heller novels, which is tricky.

And negotiations to possibly film my screenplay from my novel Road to Purgatory are continuing apace. I never believe this kind of thing till the check clears and shooting begins, but it’s promising, very promising.

After a busy summer, Crusin’ has no bookings this September – next date is Oct. 1 at the Elms in Muscatine. But we have been booked back to Riverside Casino in December, which is very encouraging, and we are putting together our live CD to help show other venues what we can do. Any Midwestern mystery conventions would be wise to consider us.

Even now The Big Bang is racking up some nice notices. You’ll have to scroll down to read this nice one from the Lansing State Journal.

It’s a pleasure to see an Augusta Chronicle article about cult crime writer Ennis Willie getting widespread attention on the web. Considering Willie was a mystery himself for years, seeing his picture and reading an interview with him is almost surreal…definitely surreal is seeing my own name prominent in the article. A good job, though the writer seems to think Willie was a rich, famous writer in the ‘60s, when even then he was an obscurity, published by a minor softcore smut house (Merit Books) out of Chicago. Over the years, a handful of us realized we had been reading and loving and collecting Willie, and our enthusiasm turned him into a much-collected writer – the original paperbacks now go for a lot of money. The article, of course, covers the new Willie collection, Sand’s Game, from Ramble House.

Fun to see Dead Street (by Mickey Spillane with a little help from yrs truly) getting attention so late in the game with this really nice write-up.

Downright odd is seeing my Dick Tracy movie novelization getting attention, but here’s a pretty good article on my adventures with Disney on that project. You can get my version in the book Tied-In, available at Amazon on Kindle and print-on-demand.

I’ll wrap by saying Barb and I saw some very fun movies this weekend – Machete and Going the Distance, incredibly different films but similar in that they are entertaining and not cookie-cutter Hollywood. Machete is, of course, an outrageous B-movie ride, while Going the Distance is a really funny, uncontrived romantic comedy with Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. In addition, we got the blu-ray from England of the new updated Sherlock (Martin Freeman of the original Office is Watson) – it’s first-rate, really terrific. It’s coming out over here soon, and don’t miss it. In its way it’s very faithful, and by dumping the Victorian era, you get an idea of what it must have been like to encounter the Sherlock Holmes tales when they were first published, and were cutting-edge current, not fog-wrapped nostalgia.

M.A.C.

Perfect Crimes

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I’ve been working with artist Terry Beatty and editor John Boland of Perfect Crime on the new trade paperback reprints of the first five Quarry novels. Not sure of pub dates yet, but Terry’s covers are knockouts and will be previewed here as soon as I’m allowed. Each book will have a new after word by me – I just delivered those – and the back cover will feature a picture of me in my 1971 glory (the year I created Quarry).

Perfect Crime has also just published two volumes of THE SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS. Volume One features my long-out-of-print Nathan Heller novella, DYING IN THE POST-WAR WORLD. Read about the books here.

Tied InAnother book I contributed to is TIED-IN, a wonderful collection of essays on the novelization and TV tie-in trade edited by the co-founder of the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers, Lee Goldberg. I’m the other co-founder, and you’ll find a chapter about the writing of the infamous DICK TRACY and ROAD TO PERDITION movie novels, as well as my participation in roundtables about the craft of tie-in writing in general, including behind-the-scenes CSI stuff. Check it out here.

John Looney’s home is up for sale in Rock Island. Have a gander if you’re interested – out of my price range, and anyway, I’m already haunted by John and Connor Looney.

The ROAD TO PERDITION Blu-ray continues to get raves, and my talk about the ROAD TO PURGATORY film project continues to spread virally on the net. No further news yet, although things to seem to be progressing. PERDITION has turned up on another of those “10 Best Comic Book Movies” lists.

Remember, Eastern Iowa folks, to come see Crusin’ at Wilton Founder’s Day on August 27. The XL’s play on the 28th, so it should be a great weekend of classic garage band rock by two Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Bands.

M.A.C.