Posts Tagged ‘Fate of the Union’


Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Shooting has begun on QUARRY in New Orleans.

I have read all eight scripts (including the one I wrote!) and series creators Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller have put together an excellent in-depth look at the origins of Quarry. It’s exciting, sexy, violent, character-driven and takes on important topics, which I like to think is a reflection of my fiction. I am particularly pleased that the show is being done in period with a real emphasis on the Vietnam aspect of the source material.

Break a leg, guys!

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It’s been a very busy year already. Now I begin work on ANTIQUES FATE, working from Barb’s rough draft. Maybe writing FATE OF THE UNION (another FATE!) in between QUARRY IN THE BLACK and this latest Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery will ease the jolt between the very dark world of most of my work and the lighter world of Brandy and her mother Vivian. On the other hand, Barb had the idea of really littering this one with murder victims, so we’ll see.

We’re doing an English-style cozy, consciously invoking the likes of MIDSOMER MURDERS and MISS MARPLE with a village in Iowa that plays up its British heritage. Working on these books is always fun, because Barb puts in so much comedy, which inspires me to put in even more.

One thing will make this year less busy than it would have been: Barb and I (and Nate and Abby) won’t be going to San Diego Comic-Con. We’ve gone regularly for over two decades, so this is kind of the end of an era, or anyway an interruption of one. The con has become so big, sprawling and unwieldily, it can be daunting for older fans and pros. It’s also difficult to get into many of the most interesting panels because to do so requires standing in line for a long, long time (in some cases, overnight).

It will probably mean the Scribe Awards (which I have regularly hosted since their inception, given out at the San Diego Comic-Con) will likely be looking for a new home. This I really regret, as co-founder (with my pal Lee Goldberg) of the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers, who honor tie-in writers with these awards. The con gave us a nice high profile.

Why are we staying home? Simple – the wretched situation where lodging is concerned. The con throws all of the hotel rooms out there at a specified time, and if you’re not a computer whiz, you don’t stand a chance – everything at all close to the convention center is gone in about sixty seconds, and within five minutes even the bad rooms are taken. Even with Nate at the computer keys, we wound up with a hotel in Mission Valley – far, far away from the con. Well, we’re already far, far away from the con, and we’ll stay there – home, I mean.

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The new Dover edition of STRIP FOR MURDER has inspired this nice write-up.

Here’s a wonderful review of KILL ME, DARLING from the UK.

The paperback edition of COMPLEX 90 inspired this great review.

And here’s a piece on KILL ME, DARLING by someone who hasn’t read it yet…but it’s good!


Real Life Intrudes

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015


This will be a short update because I am very much in the bunker, working on the second Reeder & Rogers novel, FATE OF THE UNION (I changed the title from STATE OF THE UNION when somebody pointed out there was a Brad Thor novel by that name) (I’ve never read him, is my lame excuse).

The book feels very good, but the work has been exhausting. Matt Clemens, my co­-author, is actually still working on his draft, and I expect the rest of his material by mid-­week or sooner. Matt and I have been on the phone a good deal – not constantly, but frequently – as we consult on the phases each of us is working on. Of all the books we’ve done together – that’s easily approaching two dozen – this one feels particularly collaborative.

Normally Matt would deliver his rough draft (based on our co­-plotting, about two-­thirds the length of what my final draft will be) before I begin writing; but the complications of real life threw both of us curves. Matt got involved driving a good friend to chemotherapy sessions some miles away, later lost that friend, and then his mother­-in­-law passed away. I got sick last year – a bronchial thing – while working on the new Heller. No project of mine is harder than a Heller, and while I never stopped writing, my work days were truncated.

Writers live by deadlines, but deadlines don’t give a damn about illness or family tragedy or really anything approaching real life. This past week, in and around working on FATE OF THE UNION, I have been helping Barb deal with our terrible leaky roof problems due to the suddenly melting snow and ice here in the Midwest. Those of you know how bad my vertigo is will be astounded to learn that I’ve been up on the top roof of our multi-level art deco house with its flat roofs (hence leaks) shoveling snow and chopping up ice like an Eskimo in an old cartoon.

We have severe water damage in several rooms, and even had to move from our bedroom into the guest room. None of this is meant to solicit sympathy. As I’ve said here before, my late friend Paul Thomas always said, “If you want sympathy, it’s between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” But part of what I’m trying to do in these updates is provide a glimpse into a working writer’s life. And the intrusion of real life into the fantasy we create can cause problems.

I think anyone who likes my work will enjoy FATE OF THE UNION. Some of you, even my most loyal readers, haven’t checked out the first Reeder & Rogers book, SUPREME JUSTICE, because it’s from Amazon, in their Thomas & Mercer line, and isn’t easily found in brick-­and­-mortar bookstores. Its success has been largely as an e­-book. What may surprise you is learning that – excluding various editions of ROAD TO PERDITION and certain movie tie­-ins, like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and DICK TRACY – SUPREME JUSTICE is my biggest bestseller.

Like the first novel, FATE OF THE UNION is a political thriller set around fifteen years in the future. It deals with big issues in, I think, an exciting way. SUPREME JUSTICE caught a lot of flack for having a liberal hero (most political thrillers are conservative, I’m told). This time I feel confident I’m being an equal opportunity offender.