Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Summer’s End

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A word from my son, Nate —

As some of you may already know, in addition to administrating this website, I work as a freelance Japanese to English translator. In the spirit of crass nepotism, I’d like to hijack this week’s post to announce the release of my first book-length translation, SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE: a collected novel, novella, and short story by suspense/horror writer Otsuichi.

The titular SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE, Otsuichi’s breakout suspense novella (written when he was only sixteen), follows a nine-year-old girl who dies during summer vacation. While her two friends-turned-killers attempt to hide her body from their families and the police, we watch from the point of view of the girl’s dead body. It’s a simple story with an interesting narrative twist.

The collection follows with “Yuko,” a short story set in post-war Japan. A young woman is starting her first job as the lone servant in a mansion home to a reclusive author and his wife. But as weeks pass with no actual sign of the wife’s existence, the servant begins to fear for her master’s sanity.

The third and final selection, BLACK FAIRY TALE, is a novel of classic Japanese horror. In it, a girl loses her eye in an accident and receives a transplant. Her new eye contains visions of the experiences and memories of its previous — deceased — owner. The girl, her own memories gone, finds herself estranged from her old family and friends and becomes drawn to the past life of her eye’s donor. But as she seeks to discover the donor’s fate, she soon finds herself in mortal danger.

As you can see, there’s a lot packed into this book, and there’s a lot to like. Otsuichi deftly mixes the creepy and the supernatural with a grounding in slice-of-life Japan, and the twists and turns are surprising, but never cheap or dishonest. I am very lucky to have worked with such captivating and well-written source material, making my first book-length published translation something I can be proud of. I hope you’ll check it out!

We’ll now return to your regularly scheduled update:

Very proud of Nate – I read this book in galley proofs, and it’s excellent. Can’t wait to lay hands on an actual copy.
Here’s a small but nice BIG BANG review (those seem to finally be winding down).

And here’s a link to an appearance I made last May at the legendary Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City. (And here’s a link of the same with audio only.) It’s about an hour – I discuss THE BIG BANG and read a brief selection, then answer a few questions. They have signed copies and you can write them here for info about mail-ordering one:

For those of you in the eastern Iowa area, Crusin’ will play at the Elms Restaurant, 2108 Grandview Avenue, from 8 to 11 on Friday, Oct. 1. Muscatine’s River Drive is blocked by road construction and you should use the bypass.

Work continues on the live Crusin’ CD culled from soundboard recordings last August. Twenty songs including around seven originals. It’s designed for promo purposes but I’ll sell a limited number here.

Here are some things Barb and I enjoyed over the weekend: the solid crime film THE TOWN; the new Weezer CD, “Hurley”; and the eighth season of the electrifying British show Spooks (aka MI-5), thanks to our all-regions DVD player (and Amazon UK).


Road To Wilton

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Of the great reviews and interviews that have been generated by the release of ROAD TO PERDITION on Blu-ray, this one from the L.A. Times (calling me “the great pulp-spirited author”), is one of the best. It includes a visit with my pal Daniel Craig. Yeah, I know James Bond. Deal with it.

The rest of this update will be a little special. I’m asking my son Nate to share some of the great photos he took of my band Crusin’ and our pals the XL’S (yeah, I know the XL’s – deal with it) at the recent, very well-received Great River Days concert in Muscatine.

The two bands are sharing the stage (albeit on separate nights) at the big Wilton Founder’s Day Event this coming weekend. Crusin’ plays Friday night (August 27) from 9 pm to 1 a.m., and the XL’s do the same the next night.

Wilton is close to Muscatine, but I’m bad at directions, so just google Wilton, Iowa – it’s a street event, so we won’t be hard to find. Come early and enjoy the carnival type doings, and stop by the Wilton Candy Kitchen, a legendary (and wonderful) oldtime soda shop.


Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days

Quarry’s Ex X-ed

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Many of you already know that Dorchester – where Hard Case has been publishing its books – has shut down its mass market publishing, and that QUARRY’S EX is a casualty. If you have one of the arcs of that novel, you have a collectible.

I’ll let Hard Case honcho Charles Ardai explain. Check it out here (at Bill Crider’s great site).

Bottom line is: I don’t know when QUARRY’S EX will see print. I am confident it will, and will keep you posted.

Ironically, we have had several raves for QUARRY’S EX of late. Booklist said: “Collins remains the quintessential modern-day pulp writer.” Publisher’s Weekly called the book a “perfect piece of sardonic pulp noir.”


Recently I did several phone interviews about the ROAD TO PERDITION blu-ray. Several of those interviews touched on the long-gestating ROAD TO PURGATORY film project. I revealed that I will probably not be directing, but that we seem to be on the verge of making a deal. That in fact we are looking at paper work right now. The primary interview you can read here.

But you’ll have to do your own google search for the other web mentions my info received – I believe this is the first time I’ve gone viral. The news of a PERDITION sequel is all over the web. Some people seem delighted, others think PERDITION shouldn’t have a sequel (a little late, since the PURGATORY and PARADISE novels have already done that). Some people are nice about it and say positive things about me, others say nasty things, and that’s the web for you. I love the idea that there are people who long for a PERDITION film but want to make sure somebody but me writes the script – the creator of the story needs to be kept out of it! Wow. Gotta love democracy – makes for some inspired lunacy.

The Premiere web site also interviewed me about the PERDITION blu-ray. Turns out I’m happy.

For reasons beyond me, my 2007 Ms. Tree novel DEADLY BELOVED has been reviewed, and while I wouldn’t call it viral, the review is available quite a few places on the web. It’s patronizing and certainly not a rave, but you can read if you like.

The Sunday (Aug. 8) Crusin’ gig at Riverside Casino went very well – I had a touch of flu and was worried that it might cause me trouble, but it didn’t. We did a solid three-hour show and the audience danced and applauded from the very start. Lots of great comments. I hope we get asked back, because it was like real show biz – lights and sound and a nice stage set-up (drums and several amps were provided). For eastern Iowa fans, we have another big show coming up at the Wilton Founder’s Day celebration, the evening of Aug. 27. More later!


X-L-lent Show

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The Crusin’/XL’s concert for the Muscatine, Iowa, Great River Days celebration beat all the odds – we dodged rain, and a flooding riverfront (that sent us to the Muscatine Community College campus), not to mention a Thursday night date. Still, two bands specializing in decades-old rock drew 1000 people to the outdoor event.

Crusin' @ Great River Days 2010

It’s always a pleasure to play up on a big concert stage with a sound company, and a huge, responsive crowd always makes for an energetic show. The XL’s – who regrouped from all around the country for this – were a major band in the Midwest in the mid- to late-sixties, and they showed why, with two fun party band sets highlighted by outstanding renditions of “Kicks,” “Pretty Woman” and “Wild Thing,” with Iowa rock legend Joe McClean playing a Tonette solo. Yeah!

The XL’s and Crusin’, by the way, are both Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

Crusin’ did one of its best shows of recent years, I think, and performed some very challenging material – “Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Hush,” “Cinammon Girl” – very well. A lot of people were there to see the XL’s and we had to really work to win at least some of that audience over…but we did. And the highlight was probably the very end when both bands took the stage to do a long, lead-filled version of “Louie Louie.” The crowd demanded an encore and the two groups pulled “Money” out of their collective nether regions.

Fair to say – both bands killed. I find it hard to imagine I’ll ever have the chance to play in many events so fun and fulfilling.

For those of you in eastern Iowa, you can get a taste by coming to the Riverside Casino in Riverside, Iowa (future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) this coming Sunday, August 8. We will play an afternoon show starting at 2 pm.

Also, we have a double-feature event with the XL’s at Wilton’s Founder’s Day the evenings of Friday Aug. 27 (Crusin’) and Saturday Aug. 28 (XL’s). The bands will not appear on stage together but expect “guest star” appearances both nights.

Road to Perdition Blu RayToday (Aug. 3) is the release date of the Blu-ray disc of ROAD TO PERDITION. It’s a beautiful transfer and has many special features – including extensive interview material with both me and my brilliant artist Richard Piers Rayner – that make this a must purchase for any M.A.C. fan or, really, anybody with taste and a Blu-ray player. The reviews so far have been stellar, like this one from DVD Verdict, this one from AVS Forum, and this from Big Picture Big Sound.

And here’s one whose focus is an interview with yours truly.

Also, PERDITION continues to rank high in “best movies from comic books” lists.

Here is a really nice write-up about THE BIG BANG from the Murder Mystery & Mayhem blog.

You’ll have to scroll down for it, but here’s another nice BIG BANG review, nicely succinct.

You should check out my article on Mickey Spillane’s ONE LONELY NIGHT in my buddy David Morrell’s THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS.

I’m sure some of the mystery and comics fans who stop by are bewildered by the coverage here of my band Crusin’ (and sometimes Seduction of the Innocent). But writing and music have been intertwined in my life and career from the very beginning. Any of you involved with mystery and or comics conventions – particularly in the Midwest – might consider booking Crusin’ for evening entertainment. And comics cons in particular should know that Seduction of the Innocent is considering con bookings again. Contact me through this site.

By the way, at the Great River Days event, we did both the Daybreakers’ “Psychedelic Siren” and Seduction’s “Pussy Whipped.”