Posts Tagged ‘Lady Go Die’

There’s a Podcast on the Loose!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Mickey Spillane, signed:
“Hi Max, a big hello to my hero!”

At the St. Louis Bouchercon, EQMM editor Janet Hutchings asked me to read for a podcast the Spillane/Collins story they published a while back, “There’s A Killer on the Loose!” Well, it’s available for free download now, right here:
http://eqmm.podomatic.com/entry/2012-06-01T05_36_55-07_00

Right now Barb and I are getting ready for the International Mystery Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, later this week. Today I did a final edit on the script for the live presentation of “Encore for Murder” starring Gary Sandy as Mike Hammer (it will be presented a number of times, but the premiere is Thursday night. More info is available right here.

I’ve been encouraging you to pick up the new book by Jim Traylor and me, MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN, at Barnes & Noble online, because of the great price. Well, now Amazon has it at a reduced price as well. Even on sale, this is an expensive book, but I swear it’s a good one, with great pictures and jammed full of information and informed opinion. If you like Mickey or me or especially both, you want to bite the bullet and send for this.

Here’s another positive review of LADY, GO DIE! that seems slightly ashamed of itself. Why reviewers can’t like this book without apology or a patronizing tone is beyond me. But I’m glad they like it. This one got picked up all over the place.

Here’s one more interview with me from the LADY, GO DIE! cyber tour. I know, I know – enough already. But it’s an interesting one, I think.

And here out of the past comes a positive review of a BATMAN short story I wrote some time in the previous century.

Finally, my son Nathan has been gradually upgrading this site. It’s very much a W.I.P., but you’ve probably noticed the cool new headers on the first page, and there are other new graphics here and there, as well as updated bios of me and my band Crusin’. He feels it’s premature to mention this, but I’m pleased with the progress he’s making and hope you’re noticing some of the changes and improvements.

M.A.C.

First Lord of Mystery—No Kidding

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

The International Mystery Writers Festival at Owensboro, Kentucky, has fast become one of the most popular events in the world of mystery fiction. My pal Lee Goldberg has been raving about it to me for several years, and I suspect his fine hand is at work in my having been invited to participate. In fact, I’m “The First Lord of Mystery” (previously honored mystery writers at the festival have been female), and will be doing all sorts of signings and workshops with Barb at my side. Most exciting, the first public performance of the Mike Hammer radio play “Encore for Murder” will be be presented opening night, Thursday June 14, with Gary Sandy as Hammer. Some of you may recall that Gary is one of the stars of my indie film “Mommy’s Day.” Involved in the production are several Firesign Theater luminaries. The festival is June 14 – 17 at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, and you can read about it here.

The cyber press tour for LADY, GO DIE! continues to wind down, but an important stop along the way is Forbes.com, where a strong interview with me was given a lot of play, and picked up hither and yon.

That fine writer and good pal of mine, Ed Gorman, has lavished praised upon MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN at his entertaining blog, the first review of that I’ve seen. Grab this from Barnes and Noble, who still have the best price (though it’s gone up a couple of bucks).

The second half of the Comic Geek interview appears here.

And yet another interview at Comic Attack.

Another blog by a guy named Ed is devoted to a perceptive review of I, THE JURY, the reviewer prompted by LADY, GO DIE! to go back to the beginning of the Hammer saga.

Here’s another one of those odd positive reviews of LADY, GO DIE! that seems apologetic for liking it.

Jon Jordan at Crimespree asked me to discuss the five books and five albums that changed my life. Check this out – it’s a refreshing change from all of these interviews I’ve been giving.

M.A.C.

You Say Hello, I Say Bye Bye

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The mass market paperback of the latest Heller novel, BYE BYE, BABY, is out today, with a cover I much prefer over the hardcover edition’s. I also made a few corrections to the text, so completists may wish to double dip to get the final version.

Speaking of covers, here is the revised cover of the next Heller, TARGET LANCER. The version on Amazon has yellow lettering that I found nauseating, and my editor went to bat for me and got this big improvement.

Bye Bye Baby
Target Lancer

Something happened yesterday that was not a big deal but demonstrates the odd position I find myself in at times. A guy called at 8:30 Sunday morning, leaving a message that I should call him – a stranger. Now maybe 8:30 Sunday morning is late for you. For us, it’s early, very damn early (while we live in Iowa, we are not farmers), particularly when I get in at 3 a.m. after a band job. In addition, the ringing phone woke my wife, who does not always have the gentle disposition you might imagine.

Fifteen minutes later, he called again – 8:45 a.m., finding us up and awake (thanks to him). He was calling Sunday morning because he was writing a book about the Irish in Iowa and thought I would like to help him. He was not in particular a fan, although he was familiar with ROAD TO PERDITION (which takes place in Illinois, not Iowa). I tried not to be rude – he seemed friendly and good-natured – but I told him his project was not in my wheelhouse, but that I could give him one useful piece of advice: don’t call strangers at 8:30 Sunday morning.

Writers have a lot of trouble with this kind of thing. Most of us don’t have unlisted numbers, because we want to be accessible as freelancers. A controversial essay has bounced around the net by a successful screenwriter who says (I’m quoting from memory here), “No, I will not read you f**king screenplay. I will also not ask you to clean my f**king house, or wash my f**king car.” Professional scribes are always having people – seldom anyone close to them – expect them to read manuscripts and help them on their way to a successful career.

And it gets awkward. I often have reviewers with blogs ask for blurbs for books they’ve written. This reeks, not so vaguely, as of tit for tat. They’ve given me good reviews, now I’m expected to do likewise for them. It’s harder when a fan, particularly one you’ve corresponded with or know from frequent book signings, wants you to read a manuscript or a self-published book. I get it – they want my approval, on one level, and on another they, too, have a vague sense of having supported me, so I should support them.

When I decline – or worse, say yes, and the book goes on a pile of things I intend to get to, but never do – I feel guilty. I was once a fan who approached Don Westlake, after all – although in fairness, I don’t recall ever asking him to read my stuff (although my first agent, knowing Don and I were friendly, did). And I should note that by the time Mickey Spillane and I became friends, I was about a decade into my career.

For me the greater problem is time – I am reading research all of the time. I am working on my own fiction all of the time. And I avoid reading fiction while I’m writing it, because I don’t want to be stylistically influenced. What little recreational reading I did is, frankly, in the bathroom. I recently finished Rick Harrison’s excellent book on his show “Pawn Stars” (don’t remember the title). I read something else light before that, but I don’t remember what.

Further complicating this is that I am frequently asked to blurb books by other authors. Often directly or through editors, sometimes my own editors, who I don’t want to alienate. And I am put in a position of having to ask other writers to blurb me, a spot editors put writers in constantly. So this makes me a hypocrite and, possibly justifiably, a rude jerk, if I say no.

On the other hand, if you are interested in cleaning my house or washing my car, let me know.

* * *

The cyber tour for LADY, GO DIE! seems to have wrapped up, and the fruits of my labors are blossoming all over the web.

Here’s a fun write-up by Jedidiah Ayres who picks his top five M.A.C. projects.

And here’s a well-done interview with me, about my continuing the Spillane legacy.

The interviewer above takes an in-depth look at the Spillane films here, and follows with a nice review of LADY, GO DIE! (although like a lot of critics who like the book, he seems ashamed of himself).

I was asked to pick my top ten films noir by Film School Rejects. I expected lots of heat (big heat) on my picks, but so far my choices have not been unduly attacked.

This very good interview/article appeared in the Oklahoman and got picked up all over the place.

Here’s an excellent LADY, GO DIE! review at Comic Attack.

Another UK response to LADY, GO DIE! is a tad condescending, but on the whole smart and positive.

A really nice review here, though the comments show what Mickey remains up against.

Here’s a brief, basically very nice review of TRIPLE PLAY. But it demonstrates how odd internet blog reviews can be. The reviewer complains that the language is “dated” (before admitting it’s appropriate to the time frame of the tales) and then claims these stories lack suspense because they are about some of the major crimes of the 20th Century – arguably, the Lipstick Killer is a well-known crime, but the other two are obscure.

M.A.C.

The Weird Ways of the Net

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

For yet another week, I spent much of my time on a sort of internet tour for LADY, GO DIE! (out this week). Later in this update, I will provide links to various pieces I’ve written and interviews I’ve given. How odd it is, to be doing most of my promo on the web – not in book stores or even on TV or radio.

On the other hand, I should note that Barb and I have a book signing this coming Saturday, May 12, at Barnes & Noble in Davenport, Iowa, from 1 p.m. to 3. This is the first signing for both ANTIQUES DISPOSAL and LADY, GO DIE! It’s at North Park Mall, 320 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA 52806.

But isn’t the internet weird? Sometimes wonderfully so. For decades, I wondered and even searched for Ennis Willie, author of the Sand novels that had (along with Richard Stark’s Parker series) inspired me as a teenage writer, in particular Nolan, the series Perfect Crime has recently reprinted in trade paperback. Then one day, out of the blue, I hear from Ennis Willie himself – neither a penname nor an African American (both had been speculated) – in my e-mail box. Since then, he was published two collections of his “Sand shockers” and I have written introductions to both.

Now I’m about to share with you an e-mail and my response. It comes from Ennis Willie’s 1960s editor at Merit Books. When I was 15 I wrote this gentleman, asking him if he’d look at my first novel, without telling him my age (the book was called The Gray Flannel Thugs). He said he’d look at the book. Meanwhile, forty-eight years later, this turned up in my e-mail box:

Max –

As an old man now, I was thinking about fiction I had enjoyed and Ennis Willie popped into my head. Wondered if he had written anything lately. Picked up “A Sand Shocker” from Amazon. Was surprised to see my name in it at least four times. Also, your editor used the short stories I had Willie do for Rascal. He never wrote any before I came onboard.

If you are interested, I might be able to fill you in on some of the Camerarts details. Although not there from the beginning, I did spend four years there.

Lastly, I was/am a big Dark Angel fan. Liked very much what you did on Before the Dawn. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Cheers,

Tony Licata

This was my somewhat astonished response:

Dear Tony —

How amazing to hear from you.

You have the honor of being the only editor who rejected me who I look back on fondly and with gratitude.

As you may recall, I had my parents drive me to your office in Chicago to deliver my first novel manuscript in person. I was, I believe, 15.

You wrote me a very long, helpful, encouraging editorial letter, and when I tried a novelette for Rascal, you responded with a similarly long and helpful letter. You didn’t have to do that. Hard to know just how much you aided me in my career at that very important juncture.

I wound up writing four novels in high school, and then the novel I wrote in community college (Mourn the Living) — very much a Sand imitation — got me into the undergrad Writers Workshop at Iowa City. Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road, was my instructor and mentor. The next two books I wrote sold before I got out of grad school, and that community college novel eventually got published, as well.

How odd and sweetly strange it is that you read one of my DARK ANGEL novels as a reader and not an editor. Somehow that’s the greatest compliment of all. I’d love to send a few other books of mine, not based on anybody else’s concepts, to show you how really far I’ve come.

Thank you for getting in touch with me, and thank you for the time you spent with an enthusiastic kid from Iowa, who was writing sex scenes long before he ever had any. Of course, I never did shoot anybody, either, and I’m still writing about that….

Warmly,

Max

* * *

I wrote a very in-depth piece about the process of putting LADY, GO DIE! and the other “lost” Hammer novels together for Lit Reactor.

Here’s a well-conducted interview about LADY, GO DIE! at Slacker Heroes.

The Slacker Heroes interviewer also did this nifty review of the book.

Another nice interview with lots of comics images can be found at CBR’s fun site.

MTV.com asked me to rate my top ten crime comics.

Flavorwire wanted a beginner’s guide to crime fiction, and I chose these ten books.

Finally, Criminal Element presented an excerpt from LADY, GO DIE!, but you won’t need to read that, will you? Since you’re going to buy the book this week….

M.A.C.