Posts Tagged ‘Lady Go Die’

South Carolina Snaps / Quarry for $1.99

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

NEWS FLASH: QUARRY and QUARRY’S VOTE will be $1.99 on Kindle for 48 hours! First sale price on Quarry e-books.

QUARRY Kindle $1.99
Quarry's Vote
QUARRY’S VOTE Kindle $1.99

This week my update will be a short one, because (a) I just finished writing eight blog entries in support of LADY, GO DIE! (links will be posted), and (b) I am providing a few pictures from our recent South Carolina trip for Mickey’s induction into the SC author’s hall of fame.

But I do need to mention that ANTIQUES DISPOSAL, the new hardcover, is out even as I type this, as is the mass-market paperback edition of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF.

Also, the Perfect Crime trade paperbacks (with new after words) of the Nolan series are available now or soon will be. They are FLY PAPER, HUSH MONEY, HARD CASH, SCRATCH FEVER, SPREE and MOURN THE LIVING. Actually, the MOURN after word is recycled from the Five Star edition. Otherwise, new stuff.

There’s a nice review here of the new Heller novella collection, TRIPLE PLAY.

And a really nice review of ANTIQUES DISPOSAL from the perceptive Craig Clarke can be found here.

Here’s a fun review of BYE BYE, BABY.

And a very nice recommendation for LADY, GO DIE! right here.

Left to right: Atlantic Ocean, MAC, Atlantic Ocean.

Left to right: MAC, Bogie pretending to be Hammer, Jim Traylor.

MAC and Jane Spillane

MAC sportsman

Potential Crusin’ venue?


Antiques Chop Talk

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Right now I am in the home stretch of my draft of ANTIQUES CHOP, the seventh “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mystery that Barb and I have collaborated upon. I should finish this week (and I better, because April 1st is the deadline) (no fooling). Nate suggested that, while I’m in the midst of it, I provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process.

Barb and I begin with a succession of business lunches where we first come up with the basic concept, and usually tie it to a title. The pattern of the titles are to have the word ANTIQUES followed by a punning word, and we have a list of these (continually growing). This time the title ANTIQUES CHOP sparked the premise (sometimes it’s the other way around), leading to the mystery revolving around an ax murder, an unusually gruesome crime for a supposed “cozy.”

We often look at “antique” crimes, which is to say crimes that occurred decades ago but are having latter-day ramifications. So I suggested we make an unsolved Lizzie Border-esque ax murder the centerpiece of the story, and wrote a faux entry about the crime for a non-existent true-crime encyclopedia. From there Barb and I began the back-and-forth process of coming up with a fairly detailed plot. We have to turn in a sample chapter and brief synopsis to our editor at Kensington (and get approval), so we have to have a firm idea of where we’re going before Barb gets started on her draft.

Barb works on that draft for probably six months, although that six months may stretch out to an entire year, because she isn’t always working on it – summers tend to be busy and that keeps her away from the work. Last year, for example, we went on a west coast book tour, plus there’s comic con and other distractions.

As Barb writes, I stay out of her way unless she has a problem or a concern about what she’s up to. Sometimes we discuss a plot point, and oftentimes we discuss it if she feels she has a need to deviate from the plot as originally conceived. Generally, though, I give her all the space she needs.

When Barb delivers her draft, it’s usually about 200 to 225 pages of doubled-spaced copy. My job is to expand and flesh out her draft, providing more dialogue and even more humor and generally apply what I laughingly think of as a more professional gloss. The end result will be 300 to 330 pages. I do my pass in a month or less, working hard and intensely, with Barb editing and suggesting revisions as I go (she reads it, and provides her notes, a chapter at a time). We do a lot of this over business lunches – just yesterday, on what was otherwise a day off, we discussed two plot points that needed shoring up in the chapter I just finished and the one that I will be doing today.

The final step is for me to spend a day or two re-reading the manuscript and marking up a hard copy with revisions, with Barb entering them in the chapter files. Then, common to all writers, we ship it (by e-mail these days) and hold our collective breath, hoping for a delighted response from the editor. On this series, we’ve been lucky to get that response pretty much every time. Occasionally there are rewrites, as on ANTIQUES MAUL where the editor felt the murder occurred too late in the mystery, and we reshaped the book so that it happened virtually on page one and then flashed back.

I said “final step” above, but of course there is much more to do – there will be a copy-edited manuscript to check, and at least one round of galley proofs. We tend to trade off on these assignments, with Barb doing the copy-edited manuscript and me reading the galley proofs. We divide the work that way because (a) I hate the copy-editing stage, since the Moriarty of my career is the Intrusive Copy Editor Who Stalks Me Under Various Names and Guises, and (b) Barb is thoroughly sick of the book by the galley proof stage and is content to leave that step to me.

Do we squabble? Not much. Hardly at all. I may get testy if, as I’m moving forward in my draft, Barb indicates (and she’s always right) that I need to go back and make a few fixes in a chapter that I had considered finished. This occurs, on the rare occasion that it does occur, early in the morning before I have had a chance to become fully human. Let’s just say, first thing in the morning, I’m more Quarry than Mallory.

So there you go. That’s how this particular flavor of sausage is made.

* * *

It’s gratifying to note that I received such a warm reaction to my defense of the film JOHN CARTER – which, let’s face it, was fairly shrill, since the premise of my piece was that anyone who didn’t like the movie was an idiot. Not only did my piece receive more comments than usual, a number of blogs provided links and made favorable comments on my take on this beleaguered film.

I am pleased to say that the early reviews on LADY GO, DIE! are coming in and, so far, are all favorable. The book received a very nice write-up in the often tough Publisher’s Weekly.

And there was a very gratifying (and I think perceptive) review from one of my favorite contemporary crime writers, Bill Crider, at his blog (perhaps the best mystery fiction blog out there).

Similarly, Ron Fortier – another strong contemporary scribe – has written a LADY, GO DIE! review that appears at several blogs, including his own Pulp Fiction Reviews.

The Brandywine site continues to work through the Nate Heller backlist, and this time FLYING BLIND is discussed.

QUARRY’S EX has picked up several, slightly belated (favorable) reviews, like this one at Books Are For Squares and this one at Pulp 300.

Here’s a thoughtful new look at the film version of ROAD TO PERDITION.

And here’s a guy who says he’s addicted to my books. I have to wonder if he discovered Nate Heller through the Amazon reprint series, who essentially gave TRUE DETECTIVE away (for under two bucks) for a while there. You know, the drug dealers really had something with their “first one’s free” approach.


John Carter: Idiots Need Not Apply

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I’d like to offer a few words about the movie JOHN CARTER – basically, that it’s terrific. The reviewers (whether print or blogosphere) who have savaged this film – particularly those who have gleefully pronounced it a fiasco of HEAVEN’S GATE proportions – are…what is the word I’m looking for? Idiots.

Nate and his girl friend Abby – both in their twenties, and Barb and I, neither in our twenties, none of us idiots – loved this film. For anyone who grew up on the Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pixar director Andrew Stanton has conjured almost literally a dream come true – the characters that previously lived only in the shared imagination of author and reader are alive on screen. We encounter strange, fully delineated creatures and cultures, sometimes humorous, other times horrific, in this heartfelt piece of filmmaking. Epic and intimate, JOHN CARTER is faithful to its influential source material, and despite what you’ve heard, not at all hard to follow…again, unless you’re an idiot.

The Western section alone, with Bryan Cranston as a Custer-style general, is as entertaining an action film as I’ve seen in ages – the introduction of Carter himself, through a series of quickly cut scenes of comically escalating violence, is masterful storytelling. It’s true that between action scenes the characters occasionally talk – an outrageous notion, I realize. Some have said that Carter’s heroic powers (driven by the variant gravity of Mars) are nothing special – after all, they are basically Superman’s…created by Burroughs decades before science-fiction fans Siegel and Shuster, bless ‘em, came up with the guy in the red cape.

Overall, JOHN CARTER possesses a haunting quality that combines the desert spectacle of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA with the fantasy romance of TIME AFTER TIME, even as it reminds us that its classic source inspired such pop culture touchstones as FLASH GORDON, STAR WARS and DUNE.

Some have found the unfortunately named Taylor Kitsch a stiff as John Carter. I found him charismatic and compelling, and would let the guy play Nate Heller any day of the week. Lynn Collins, as Princess Dejah Thoris, is a striking, full-bodied woman who is well up to her swashbuckling task; and she could play Ms. Tree any day of the week. Also, I am fine with any movie that has the sense to cast both Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) and Mark Anthony (James Purefoy) from HBO’s Rome in the same epic picture.

I would imagine that most fans of Burroughs (and his Barsoom and Tarzan) will be in this film’s pocket the moment they realize that Burroughs himself is a major character. As an author, I am thrilled to see a one-hundred year-old novel becoming the source for a big budget 21st Century film. Do not miss this one. Unless, of course, you’re an idiot.

* * *

The first review of LADY GO, DIE! has appeared, and it’s a fine one, from that terrific crime writer, Tom Piccirilli.

Thanks to the Amazon reprints and e-books, TRUE DETECTIVE is getting attention all over again.

And Ennis Willie’s second Sand two-fer, SAND’S WAR, for which I wrote an introduction, got a swell write-up from the always interesting Bookgasm.

See you next week, probably with an inside look at the writing of the currently in progress ANTIQUES CHOP.


Sneak Peak At The New Hammer

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Lady, Go Die!

Titan has a wonderful new take on doing Spillane/Hammer covers, as this advance look at LADY, GO DIE! reveals. I’m a little concerned that I seem to be getting top billing here, but Mickey’s name at the bottom of the image is somewhat larger and I’m assured will catch the eye first. (The official billing, as always, puts Spillane in first position.) But it’s a striking design, isn’t it?

Speaking of Spillane, THE CONSUMMATA continues to garner fine reviews, like this widely circulated one at Blogcritics. Funny thing about this one – the presence of a comics reference (specifically Batman and Catwoman) convinces the critic that I wrote that particular line. Apparently he’s unaware of Mickey’s affiliation with (and affinity for) comics – Batman was a favorite of Mick’s, and he claimed to have written some stories for the feature, though we’ve never been able to confirm that (Mickey worked for Funnies, Inc., and a lot of his stuff was at Timely/Marvel).

The Simon & Kirby Crime Comics book that I introduced has continued to rack up great notices, often with kind words about my intro. Check out this one, and this one.

My friend and collaborator Terry Beatty and I began work on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT over the weekend – I plotted it and provided him with script for his chapter intros and the Ellery Queen-style “Challenge to the Reader.” Terry gave an interesting interview here.

I made a mid-week Chicago day trip with another frequent collaborator, Matt Clemens, to continue preliminary work with sports radio star Mike North. Matt and I are prepping to write an “as told to” autobiography for Mike. We met with a publisher and confabbed at the great restaurant Gibson’s (on the site of Mr. Kelly’s!), and made the Sun Times. Usually me having lunch doesn’t rate major media attention….