Posts Tagged ‘Ms. Tree’

Target Lancer Book Tour Stops Announced

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

See elsewhere on this page for the full list of dates with start times for the TARGET LANCER tour.

New York remains the center of publishing and we have many friends there, as well as a few relatives. So the hurricane bearing down upon the East Coast is much on our minds, and we request that your thoughts and prayers be with the residents of the states getting the brunt of this latest blast of extreme weather.

I continue to work on ASK NOT, the follow-up to TARGET LANCER. This has been a brutal, even punishing experience, due to the mass of research material and the difficulties that material presents. What I have been wrestling with throughout is how much time compression to use, in order to make the narrative more compelling. That kind of thing is common in writing Heller: balancing the “true detective” mandate of giving an accurate look at history against the need to do an exciting suspense story. Time compression is definitely the biggest liberty I take, on just about every Heller, and this one is no exception. With luck, I have about two weeks to go.

We will very soon have a You Tube promo for TARGET LANCER that my longtime collaborator Phil Dingeldein shot for me. Phil and I continue to explore doing a new low-budget horror film, probably starring Danielle from AMERICAN PICKERS, on which Phil is a key shooter and occasional director.

Advance TARGET LANCER reviews continue to flow in, like this great one from a first-rate writer, Ron Fortier.

I enjoyed this LADY, GO DIE! review by a reader who is grappling with his dislike of Mike Hammer as a character, or at least certain aspects of Hammer’s character, but is starting to like the books. I would point out to a lot of Hammer’s critics, who don’t like the way he seems to be sadistically enjoying the punishment he dishes out, that Hammer reacts that way when dishing out violence upon bad guys. He’s a selective sadist.

Here’s another LADY, GO DIE! review, short but fun.

A review of DEADLY BELOVED has popped up, after all this time. Generally a decent review, but the reviewer doesn’t quite grasp the larger-than-life, tongue-in-cheek nature of the material.

Similarly, this good review of QUARRY’S EX doesn’t entirely “get” Quarry himself, but it’s fun to see a new, presumably younger reader grappling with the character.

Here’s a cool review of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER, which will soon be available in a new edition from Thomas & Mercer (both trade paperback and e-book).

A week from the day this appears, Barb and I will be working in the local Obama office. Yes, I am revealing what everyone already knows: that I support the current President. How can the guy who is continuing Mike Hammer vote for a Democrat? (This is a question my friend and partner Jane Spillane must ask herself everyday!) Well, it speaks to some of the character issues that critics are perplexed with above. I think Mike Hammer is a fantastic character, but I wouldn’t vote for him for president. Not that Obama’s opponent is Mike Hammer, by any means. After all, it was a Hammer-like team sent by my guy that took down Bin Laden.

M.A.C.

Skin Game

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

My latest collaboration with Mickey Spillane is available in e-book only from Dutton’s e-relaunch of its Gilt-Edged Mystery Line, of which Mickey was the first great star, actually easily the greatest star. It’s a nice honor that they are making Mickey a big part of this new start.

Here’s where you can read about the novella and order it from parent company Penguin. It’s also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book sellers.

The novella is my completion of a very interesting fragment from the Spillane files – a typically great opening from Mickey. It’s already generating some terrific reviews, like this one…and this one.

Meanwhile, LADY, GO DIE! continues to get nice notices. Here’s one of the latest.

And for an in-depth view of the First Comics panel at San Diego Comic-Con, with an emphasis on Ms. Tree, check this out.

And the next Hammer novel – COMPLEX 90, the long-awaited third book in Mickey’s Red Scare trilogy (the other two novels are ONE LONELY NIGHT and THE GIRL HUNTERS) – has been delivered to Titan. I finished right before we left for San Diego.

M.A.C.

When I’m 64

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Davy Jones of the Monkees died at 66 the other day. One of the major Monkees fan clubs is based in Muscatine, and my band Crusin’ contributed a song (“Little Bit Me, Little Bit You”) to a Monkees tribute CD in the early ‘90s (Bobby Hart did the liner notes). In my first year of college, I loved the Monkees – their albums remain surprisingly strong – and my band (then called the Daybreakers) did tons of their stuff. So the passing of Davy Jones gives me more than twinge of melancholy, not to mention paranoia, since I turned 64 on March 3rd.

On my birthday, I played a band job with the current, very strong Crusin’ line-up at a particularly hip venue (a blues club in Bettendorf called the Muddy Waters) and we received a warm welcome to say the least. Rock ‘n’ roll definitely happened (Crusin’ is myself, guitarist Jim Van Winkle, bass player Brian Van Winkle, and drummer Steve Kundel). And we pulled “I’m a Believer” out of our nether regions by way of tribute to Davy. Word got around that it was my birthday, and somebody did the math and figured out I was 64. It’s nice that a lot of people seemed to find it tough to believe that I was that age, but nonetheless I am.

One thing I’ve noticed about other bands who play ‘60s material (and we play originals and early ‘70s and other things we feel like) is that they tend to be either sleepy (literally sitting down on the job) or kitschy (going all amateur-night Sha Na Na). On the other hand, our approach remains the same balls-to-the-wall garage band rock we always specialized in, although it gets ballsier when the audience is like the one at the Muddy Waters.

While I physically on occasion do feel like 64 (or older), my attitudes haven’t changed much. I’m not going to wear a baseball cap on stage and sit down while I play keyboards. I’m not going to soften my sex and violence (even when an editor requests it) or tone down the dumb jokes or change in any way my approach, other than to improve whenever possible. I’m not slowing down my productivity if for no other reason than time is in fact running out, and I still have stories to tell. I am not going gently into this good night. I am going fucking screaming.

Triple Play

I get a certain amount of shit about living in Iowa – about having stayed in Iowa. This often comes from people who haven’t accomplished a fraction of what I have in various facets of show business. I have always lived a fairly low-key life – minimal drinking, no smoking – and remain married to the same beautiful woman after forty-some years. And she is beautiful, and incredibly thoughtful. Who else but Barb would spend the day after my birthday going to a matinee with me called “Project X” (great movie, and if you don’t think so, you are 64) (at least) about a shy kid’s birthday bash that turns into a neighborhood apocalypse. Barb spent all weekend making sure this birthday (which sucks – you don’t even qualify for the senior discount at 64, or your Social Security check) was fun and not traumatic.

Barb, by the way, is the cover girl on the upcoming TRIPLE PLAY, the Nate Heller novella collection coming out in April. I’ve always thought she looks like Marilyn Monroe, and I submitted a picture of her to Amazon Encore from the early ‘90s that I thought might work. See for yourself.

* * *

There were several nice mentions of my birthday on the net this past week. Check this one out, if you’re a Ms. Tree fan.

A blogger did a piece on Sadie Hawkins Day that lambasted Al Capp, and I responded. That response was named comment of the day.

Nathan Heller and I got some nice local love from a Cedar Rapids writer.

The Raymond Chandler centennial short-story collection got written up, with special mention of my story. I commented, because an assumption had been made about the story, which has appeared with both Marlowe and Nate Heller as its protagonist, that needed correcting.

Here’s a nice “desert island” reading list of graphic novels where ROAD TO PERDITION ranks number three.

Another blogger has an interesting take on BYE BYE, BABY, using it as starting point for his own MM research.

This coming week I will be working on ANTIQUES CHOP, Barb having just wrapped up her draft.

M.A.C.

On The Road With Vanilla Fudge

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Return to Perdition

The final (chronological) entry in the ROAD TO PERDITION saga, RETURN TO PERDITION, is available now. So are handsome new editions of ROAD TO PERDITION and ROAD TO PERDITION 2: ON THE ROAD.

I’m very pleased with how RETURN TO PERDITION has come out, and my longtime MS. TREE collaborator Terry Beatty has done a great job capturing a ‘70s feel for the final blood-and-sex-drenched chapter in the O’Sullivan saga.

Response so far has been great. Publisher’s Weekly gave us a fine review and so did Ain’t It Cool News.

Craig Clarke has nice, smart things to say, too.

And we’re turning up at various comics (and other pop culture) sites with write-ups like this one at Criminal Complex, this one at Bloody Disgusting, and IGN, too.

THE CONSUMMATA continues to get strong reviews, like this one.

And that talented writer Mike Dennis likes QUARRY’S EX.

The Simon and Kirby CRIME collection I wrote the intro to is getting some attention, as well.

CHICAGO LIGHTNING, the new Heller collection, got a great write-up here, though what I have to do with “faith fiction” is a mystery to me.

And BYE BYE, BABY rates a smug dismissal from a guy at Huffington Post, who spends a lot of time on a book he feels superior to. He starts out saying he can’t understand why anybody would still be interested in Marilyn Monroe, qualifying as an idiot right out of the gate. He claims I don’t give a solution to the mystery of Marilyn’s death, which of course I do, and says my writing – like the sex scenes in my book – are “gratuitous and mechanical.” Okay, well, unless you’re making babies, all sex is gratuitous, and let’s have more of it, sez I. It’s also by definition mechanical, as in INSERT A into B – STIR. He appears to have listened to the audio, not actually the book, and I include this here mostly because he’s smart enough to acknowledge what a great job Dan John Miller is doing reading the new Heller audios.

Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge on stage at Vipers Alley.

Last Thursday, Barb and I went to a place called Viper’s Alley in Lincolnshire, Illinois (Chicago area) to see my favorite American band from the Sixties, Vanilla Fudge. These guys were incredibly influential, really the fathers of Metal, but what I loved were the over-the-top, melodramatic symphonies they conjured out of songs like “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Shotgun,” “Some Velvet Morning,” and “She’s Not There.” B-3 organist and lead singer Mark Stein was my musical idol back in the day (really, still is), and had an enormous influence on both my singing and keyboard playing.

Vanilla Fudge
Chatting with legendary guitarist Vince Martell.

The Fudge was only together for a few years, and around ‘68-‘69, I missed several opportunities to see them at the Col Ballroom in Davenport because my own band had a conflicting gig. In recent years, the Fudge have begun to appear (and occasionally record) again, at first without Stein, but more recently with him. Great bassist Tim Bogert has stepped down from touring (health problems, I believe) but the other three – Stein, guitarist Vince Martell, and drummer Carmen Appice – are still appearing with a strong fill-in bassist, who does Bogert’s distinctive parts perfectly.

Vanilla Fudge
Chatting with one of rock’s great drummers, Carmen Appice.

Anyway, they were fantastic. The venue was intimate for this kind of thing, and the band was very unpretentious for as wonderfully bombastic as their playing is. They did their entire first album, which has recently gone platinum (“Took long enough,” Stein said) and then selectively material from later albums like “Season of the Witch” from the classic Renaissance and “Dazed and Confused” from their recent Led Zeppelin tribute album (Zeppelin first toured opening for the Fudge). Appice, as rock fans out there know, is one of the three or four greatest drummers in the history of rock, and did an amazing drum solo. And yes, they did all the high harmonies, awash in Stein’s B-3 organ with its Leslie speakers distorting just enough.

Vanilla Fudge
With Mark Stein, the lead singer and keyboard of Vanilla Fudge.

Afterward, I was able to meet the band members and get CD’s autographed. They were gracious and very down-to-earth.

I didn’t get to see Bobby Darin live, or the Beatles, but the other group on that very short list has been finally checked off (I’ve already seen Weezer…twice).

M.A.C.