Posts Tagged ‘Fallout’

Con Fab

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I’m writing this from our hotel room in the Marriott Marina after a fairly exhausting San Diego Comic-Con.

We arrived Wednesday and I attended the preview night. Once upon a time it was limited to professionals, and was a real pleasure. Now it’s kind of a frantic mess, and the best days to get around in the crowded dealer’s hall are Thursday and Sunday.

Because I’m still recovering from heart surgery and a stroke (minor), I took it easy, only going over to the dealer’s area for two hours a day Wednesday thru Friday, and skipping Saturday entirely, because it’s a zoo. Every day at least one nap went down, but on Sunday I had my stamina up and did several long sessions. I made some nice finds (I mostly collect hardcover collections of comics) but bought only one or two per day, because I can’t carry the kind of loads I once did (and fully expect I will again).

But I frankly don’t know if the San Diego Con is for me anymore. The crowds are so huge, and so much of what goes on is outside my areas of interest, I sometimes feel like that moment in a buddy movie starring aging action actors when they say, “I’m getting too old for this shit.” Also a problem is the things I wanted to see – like the Archer panel and the Evil Dead one – required endless waits in line to MAYBE get in. Worst of all, our son Nate and his missus Abby did not come along with us this year, and we missed them terribly.

Were there pleasures? Oh yes. The Scribe Awards went well, thanks to a fine panel of mostly nominees, with my pal Andy Mangels presenting the awards themselves and doing a bang-up job. We were hampered by not enough time (an hour) but everybody got to talk. And I won a Scribe for my Mike Hammer story, “Fallout.”

Left to right, M.A.C., Andy Mangels, Michael A. Black, Adam Christopher, Matt Forbeck, Glenn Hauman, Nancy Holder, R.L. King, Jonathan Maberry, Cavab Scott and Marv Wolfman

Michael A. Black, Adam Christopher, Matt Forbeck, Glenn Hauman, Nancy Holder, R.L. King, Jonathan Maberry, Cavab Scott and Marv Wolfman

Kevin Dillmore, M.A.C., Michael Black, Matt Forbeck, Jonathan Maberry, Nancy Holder, Glenn Haumann, Adam Christopher, and Cavan Scott.

We also had dinner with our friends Leonard and Alice Maltin, and their daughter Jesse and her newlywed husband, Scott. Among those I connected with at the con itself were the great Stan Sakai, M.A.C. fan Tom Kenny of Spongebob and Mr. Show fame, and Maggie Thompson, a superstar in the history of comics fandom.

Leonard Maltin and M.A.C.

M.A.C. and Stan Sakai

There was also some excellent food (though some not so excellent, like the hotel’s lousy $27! buffet) (no ordering off the menu either) and we ended Sunday by seeing the terrific new STAR TREK movie (STAR TREK BEYOND). So we kind of fought the con to a draw this time.


Nice to be Nominated (Nicer to Win)

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

I’m happy to announce that I’m a double nominee in this year’s International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers “Scribe” awards. Both are collaborations with Mickey Spillane. Here’s the entire list of nominees, with ours highlighted.

Elementary: The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher
Kill Me, Darling by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: Desert Falcons by Michael A. Black
24: Rogue by David Mack

Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
HALO: Last Light by Troy Denning
HALO: New Blood by Matt Forbeck
Pathfinder: Forge of Ashes by Josh Vogt
Shadowrun: Borrowed Time by R. L. King
Star Trek The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward
Star Trek Seekers 3: Long Shot by David Mack

Backcountry by D. E. McDonald
Batman: Arkham Knight by Marv Wolfman
Crimson Peak by Nancy Holder
MANOS —– The Hands of Fate by Stephen D. Sullivan
Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Mike Hammer The Strand “Fallout” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Shadowrun: World of Shadows “Swamp of Spirits” by Jason M. Hardy
The X-Files: Trust No One “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” by Keith R. A. DeCandido
The X-Files: Trust No One “Dusk” by Paul Crilley
The X-Files: Trust No One “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum” by Brian Keene
The X-Files: Trust No One “Statues” by Kevin J. Anderson

Dark Shadows “Bloodlust” by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells and Joseph Lidster
Dark Shadows “In the Twinkling of an Eye” Penelope Faith
Doctor Who “The Red Lady” by John Dorney
Doctor Who “Damaged Goods” by Jonathan Morris
Pathfinder Legends “Mummy’s Mask: Empty Graves” by Cavan Scott

Did you see how many X-FILES stories were nominated from the anthology I also contributed to? Oddly, what I wanted to submit was my X-FILES story “House on Hickory Hill,” but the original printing saw that story (and many others) filled with typos and other mistakes. So I decided to wait for the second printing. When it didn’t come out in time for me to submit, I sent the Mike Hammer story instead…so maybe that was a good thing! Happy accidents are clearly the best kind.

Speaking of awards, Barb and I attended the 25th annual Iowa Motion Picture Association awards, held in scenic Pella, Iowa, where windmills reign and the tulips were (nearly) in full flower. The ceremony/show was held in the Pella Opera House, a lovely old restored theater. I won the Award of Excellence for my “Heller” pilot script, in the unproduced screenplay category, as well as (and this was a big surprise) the President’s Award for outstanding career achievement.

Earlier that day I appeared on a “Past Presidents’ Panel,” bringing together five of us who had served in that position. A lot of stories going back to the mid-‘90s were shared, as well as thoughts on changing technology over the years. I made the point that content is king, and the delivery system is ultimately irrelevant.

IMPA 2016
Presidents’ Panel: (l to r) Doug Miller, M.A.C., Marty Jorgensen, Kent Newman

I was active for many years in the IMPA – I served as president three times – and the trip to Pella (where Wyatt Earp was raised) was a joy because Barb and I got to see so many old friends. I particularly want to acknowledge Shirley Long, the “glue” of the organization, who received a life achievement award (now named for her!). I know she had a lot to do with my similar President’s Award.

But the weekend was also a test. We initially went to Des Moines for some R & R that included the great Ohana Japanese steak house in West Des Moines, where our favorite chef Ken was so glad to see me aboveground, he comped us. Then the next morning, on to Pella, about an hour away. Two nights away from home in two hotels. This was our first over-nighter since the surgery two months ago.

How did I do? All right, I guess – Barb was pleased. I continue to tire easily, and between the Past Presidents panel and the evening festivities, I took a short nap. How short? Two hours. And I was very tired on the trip home, and my right hand felt thick and useless, the stroke side of things asserting itself.

Today (Monday as I write this) I feel much better. It’s important to get back to my life, to get things as back-to-normal as possible, without being stupid about it. The next big challenge is a band gig in June (first post-surgery rehearsal is this week). Rock ‘n’ roll…er, I mean, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!!!

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Here’s another great e-mail (this one from Ken Hollister) about the Mike Hammer novels that I’d like to share with you:

I just started reading Murder Never Knocks, and it occurred to me that I should contact you to express my gratitude for continuing to finish Mr. Spillane’s work.

I have been a fan of Mickey Spillane since the 1980s, when the television series with Stacy Keach introduced me to Mike Hammer. Since that time, I’ve scoured second-hand bookshops to find Spillane’s books; a treasure hunt, so to speak. Fortunately, the Internet has made this easier, but it’s still been difficult – but the enjoyment I’ve received from reading Spillane’s novels has been worth the effort.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the several books you’ve done, as well as the “radio novels” from Blackstone Audio, and your commentary on the Blu-ray release of The Girl Hunters. I am happy to see that this is the “original” Mike Hammer, and that the character hasn’t been re-invented. I hope there more of Mr. Spillane’s work that you’re completing.

After I finish reading Murder Never Knocks, I’ll be starting to read your Quarry series. I’m looking forward to them, and I hope they bring me as much enjoyment as your collaborations with Mr. Spillane.

It’s really gratifying to hear, out of the blue, from a reader who really “gets” the Spillane collaborations.

Also, if you’ve read and liked MURDER NEVER KNOCKS, please post a review at Amazon. Bob Goldsboro’s new Nero Wolfe, STOP THE PRESSES!, has 46 reviews – we have 8! Are you going to let Wolfe and Archie pimp out Mike Hammer?!? (Even if STOP THE PRESSES! is a typically fun Goldsboro continuation.)

Incidentally, if you’ve posted a review of MURDER NEVER KNOCKS (or any of my books, really) on your own site, please also post it at Amazon.

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Here’s a fun QUARRY review from a new reader (who is also a crime novelist).

And here’s a radio piece where I (and Lee Goldberg and several distinguished others) are interviewed about movie novels and TV tie-ins.