Posts Tagged ‘Road to Paradise’

SCTV For Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

SCTV ReunionJoe Flaherty as Guy Caballero, moments before rising from his wheelchair to acknowledge his standing ovation.

Let’s start off by wishing you and your family happy holidays. We are expecting Nate home for Christmas, with our cheerfully insane “granddog” Toaster, a Blue Australian Heeler named for the robots on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. And Crusin’ has a gig on New Year’s Eve at the West Liberty, Iowa, country club, where a lot of my old high school friends are members. Really looking forward to that. We have snow here and things are looking suitably scenic. Last night, Barb and I watched two Perry Mason shows from the latest DVD boxed set (one an Erle Stanley Gardner based show, “The Case of the Duplicate Daughter,” and those are the really good ones) and had cups of cocoa courtesy of Jane Spillane. Watching Perry Mason with cocoa and marshmallows provided by Mike Hammer’s creator’s widow reveals that even my dullest evenings are surrealistic.

I was pleased to see a really nice, insightful ROAD TO PARADISE review pop up from Brian Drake — a little after the fact, but with RETURN TO PERDITION under way, good to see.

Ed Gorman asked me to do a new interview for his site; I did one not long ago, but took him up on it anyway. I had to respond to some of the comments on the piece. My son gets uncomfortable when I do that, but I feel comments are different from reviews (writers really shouldn’t respond to reviews, and I’ve only broken that rule a handful of times).

I also commented on comments at a Cinema Styles, where a wonderful, smart review of THE LAST LULLABY appeared. But a couple of the comments were beyond the pale, and I just couldn’t let them ride.

I am working on the third Mike Hammer Spillane/Collins collaborative novel, KISS HER GOODBYE. Really just getting started, but it’s an interesting challenge. Mickey had taken two runs at this story, with very different plot elements; so I have around 100 pages of one version, 50 or so of another version, plus notes on both. Weaving these together will be a fun challenge. Elements of this story became BLACK ALLEY, the last Hammer published during Mickey’s lifetime; but about all that is left are a few names, the notion of Mike Hammer coming back to the city after recovering from gun shot wounds (a common start to Mickey’s later Hammer stories, both published and unfinished), and the notion of the mob moving into the era of computers.

Barb and I spent much of the week shellshocked from the incredible double-feature experience of the SCTV reunion at Second City in Chicago (see the photos courtesy of a wonderful audience member from Vancouver, who will remain anonymous, as these were largely sneaked during the performance). It’s hard for me to express how much this experience meant to us, but we’ll probably share our own photos next week, some of which reveal me in a state of crazed bliss. We are talking about an evening that began with Guy Caballero (Joe Flaherty) recognizing his standing ovation by bolting up out of his wheelchair and grinning goofily.

The other half of the double-feature was the day we spent (Monday December 14) with Chicago sportscaster Mike North, his lovely wife Bebe, and producer Carl Amari. It was a long, incredible day. Whether it will lead to the movie project we are all hoping for remains to be seen, but I found North — a working class guy made very good — an unaffected, affable, hilarious, gifted man. He invited me onto his Comcast sports show, “Monsters in the Morning,” and we talked PERDITION and movies with his co-host Dan Jiggets (also a great guy). I think Mike and Dan (and Carl, on the sidelines) were surprised by how at ease I am on camera, plus what a wise-ass I am willing to be in public. We followed Mike on a tour of his Rogers Park roots (which included lots of bars being pointed out) and spent some time at Norte Dame high school, where he coaches basketball for no pay and big personal rewards. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Carl gave me a box of the finished CDs of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH. We listened to one on the way home to Muscatine — we had only heard a rough mix before. If you haven’t ordered this yet, you are at the wrong website. I am very, very proud of this, and will be sending some review copies out soon, so I hope that before long some web attention will be shared with you here.

Again, happy holidays. Hug your family. Give gifts. And most important, watch the original MIRACLE ON 34th STREET and Alistair Sim’s CHRISTMAS CAROL…otherwise it isn’t an official Christmas.


SCTV Reunion
Barb Collins, right, and audience member Jen Ritchies, left, before the SCTV reunion show.

SCTV Reunion
Harold Ramis as Moe Green, Eugene Levy as Bobby Bittman and Flaherty as Sammy Maudlin.

SCTV Reunion
Ramis, Levy, Catherine O’Hara as Lola Heatherton, Flaherty on “The Sammy Maudlin Show”

SCTV Reunion
Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas as Edna and (the late) Tex Boyle (“Those little piggies are greasy”).

SCTV Reunion
Thomas and Martin Short in a classic Second City sketch.

SCTV Reunion
O’Hara and Martin (Pirini Scleroso). A rare Second City sketch that became an SCTV classic.

SCTV Reunion
Barb, Al and audience member Lisa Lecuyer.

SCTV Reunion
Cast (and their producer, unidentified) take a bow.

Message from M.A.C. – January 6, 2006

Friday, January 6th, 2006

We enter a new phase of FOMAC now, as Nathan will be spending at least the next nine months in Japan, doing post-grad study in Japanese and getting suitably immersed in the culture (after graduating with honors in Japanese and Computer Science from the University of Iowa).

Road to Paradise

He will be maintaining the website long-distance but, of course, we don’t know how easy or hard that will be just yet. So this is the final stateside update he’ll be posting for me.

We’ll post the last few ROAD TO PARADISE events above. Barb and I travelled to Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities and Des Moines during December, and it’s a rough time to promote a book. Things went well, though, and readers seem to really like Michael O’Sullivan’s final road trip. We’ve had some great reviews.

For those of you in the midwest, a big fun event is coming up on Friday, February 3rd: the world premiere of the film ELIOT NESS: AN UNTOUCHABLE LIFE at the Rocket Theater in Rock Island, Illinios. I will be hosting the event, and actor Michael Cornelsion (Ness himself) will be on hand, as well as my collaborators Barbara Collins, Phil Dingeldein, Mark Johnson and many others. Full details are above.

This is part of my author’s residency with Quad City Arts, and another event will be the Quad Cities premiere of my Alley Oop documentary, CAVEMAN, Thursday, Feb. 3. Check below for details.

Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life

Also check below for the final dates in the ROAD TO PARADISE tour. There’s a chance I’ll extend the tour into March, and may be doing some events on the West Coast. Check back.

The other big news is that the Neo-Noir boxed set of my DVDs, BLACK BOX, debuts at the end of January (we’ll have some at the NESS premiere!). This includes the new 10th anniversary editions of MOMMY and MOMMY’S DAY; REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET; and SHADES OF NOIR, which includes the short “Ness” demo film, “Three Women,” Quarry in “A Matter of Principal” and (finally!) my documentary, MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE.

Nate will provide a link for those of you who would like to buy it on line from our friends at Send Me Movies; they have it at a great sale price for those who pre-order.

In other news, I’ve just completed a novel with Kathy Reichs based on her TV series, BONES. It’s called BONES: BURIED DEEP and Matt Clemens assisted me on it — should be out early this year, and it’s really very cool.

Barb is at work on her draft of the second “Barbara Allan” bylined novel — watch for ANTIQUES ROADKILL this August! — and I’m working on two new novels, more about which later….

Also in August will be THE LAST QUARRY from HardCase Crime — an expansion of “A Matter of Principal,” featured on the SHADES OF NOIR DVD. It’s all storytelling.

That’s it for now, and we’ll see you back here soon. Sayonara!


Message from M.A.C. – November 6, 2005

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

Road to Paradise

A lot to report on, and I hope the infrequency of these updates will be explained if not excused when you see what all I’ve been up to. ROAD TO PARADISE, which received a great advance rave review from Publisher’s Weekly, will be out in the last week of November. This means that once again I have somehow earned the worst imaginable time of year to go out and promote a book — I have a very narrow window to do signings and readings and so on, so check this website for the list of dates. Most of them will be in the midwest, though I may go to the West Coast in January.

The novel is the last of the ROAD trilogy, and more info about it appears elsewhere on this site. Is this really the end of the story? As usual with me, that depends on you. I have a notion for at least two prequels and one after-quel or whatever-the-hell you might call it. What would they be? Well, there’s been some movie interest in my developing a prequel that explores the beginnings of the Michael O’Sullivan/John Looney relationship. And when you read PARADISE, you’ll see for yourself the major loose end I purposely left myself.

The next book will not be a PERDITION spin-off, however, nor a new Nate Heller. I have a novel about Wyatt Earp in the works which will be delivered to Morrow in 2006, with a commitment for another book after that (which could or could not be one of the PERDITION novels mentioned above).

Eliot Ness

Also, I’ve just finished the initial post-production (locking the visual side) of the feature-length version of ELIOT NESS: AN UNTOUCHABLE LIFE. Elsewhere a press release on this site will fill you in in detail on that project; but I will say that Mike Cornelison, actor, and Phil Dingeldein, shooter/editor, have knocked it out of the park. So did everyone else involved, including Lighting Designer John Houghton and Audio wizard Mark Johnson (who is working on the music and finished audio right now). We shot in Hi-Def, and anyone expecting a straightforward record of a play will be surprised…pleasantly.

Quarry fans will be excited to learn that I’ve written my first novel about our favorite hitman in a couple of decades — THE LAST QUARRY will be published by Hard Case Crime sometime next year, probably last summer. It is indeed the last story chronologically in Quarry’s career, though I reserve the right to fill in the blanks of the “missing years” (though “blanks” rarely enter in where Quarry is concerned). The novel expands upon the short story and short film “A Matter of Principal.” Director Jeffrey Goodman is still working on getting my screenplay version of the longer take on this tale in front of the cameras.

Those who haven’t had a chance to see that short film (written/produced by me, directed by Jeffrey) will soon be able to — the new DVD label Neo-Noir (distributed by Troma) will issue my anthology feature SHADES OF NOIR next year. At some point it will be an individual release, but in late January it will be available exclusively in my boxed set THE BLACK BOX, which includes new lavish 10th anniversary editions of MOMMY and MOMMY 2: MOMMY’S DAY as well as REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET.

SHADES OF NOIR includes “A Matter of Principal” and two other short noir films, the original “demo” film of “Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life” and “Three Women” (from my wife Barbara’s short story, “World’s Greatest Mother”). The DVD is rounded out by the long-asked-for documentary “Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane.” Bonus features include the “lost” Blake Edwards “Mike Hammer” pilot from 1954 starring Brian Keith, as well as a “making of” feature on “A Matter of Principal” and several rare Spillane trailers.

CAVEMAN: V.T. HAMLIN AND ALLEY OOP, my new documentary, has been doing well on the midwestern film festival circuit. I won “Best Director” at the Iowa Motion Picture Awards (and Mike Cornelson picked up “Best Narrator”); won the Silver Eddy at the Cedar Rapids indie fest; were an official selection at SMMASH in the Twin Cities; and won two awards of distinction at the Wild Rose fest in Des Moines. We are in discussion with Iowa PBS about a possible broadcast home, and I’m starting to show the doc to DVD distributors, as well.

Also coming next year is the first book by “Barbara Allan” — the collaborative penname for Barbara Collins and her husband (me). It’s a light mystery somewhat in the Mallory manner called ANTIQUES ROADKILL, and will be a hardcover from Kensington, also in late summer. We have signed to do two more. These are funny and somewhat “chick lit” in nature, but have a nice edge, nonetheless. Barb does the mystery plotting, and I write the fashion tips, of course….

CSI: Killing Game

The latest CSI was just published — KILLING GAME (my title was IMPERFECT CRIMES, for the record) — and another has been delivered: BOOT HILL. It’s not due in print till late next year. The CSI schedule has slowed down, possibly because the original books are being reprinted and issued at lower prices. We have sold well over a million copies in the USA alone. My collaborator Matt Clemens and I are in CSI novel hiatus at the moment (though we just finished doing four new CSI jigsaw puzzles, and I just finished up the fouth CSI video game script) and are at work on a TOP SECRET TV tie-in that will be of interest to anybody who took the time to read this deep into this update.

Fans of the old KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER show with one of my favorite Mike Hammers, Darren McGavin, should check out Moonstone’s anthology of classic Kolchak-style tales: KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER CHRONICLES. I’ve been honored with the final slot in the book: “Open House.”

Recently published, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER is attracting nice sales and attention (a wonderful review in one of my fave mags, FILMFAX!), but the disaster series is probably over. On the other hand, I’m about to begin a new novel for the same publisher, Berkely Prime Crime, in a new series about the history of comics in post-WW 2 America. The first novel will be called A KILLING IN COMIC BOOKS, and each chapter will have…I am delighted to say…an illustration by my longtime MS. TREE collaborator, Terry Beatty.

Speaking of MS. TREE, once again there is serious TV talk, and I may soon be writing a 2-hour pilot for the show. I would also do a number of scripts, if we go to series. This would be a dream come true — no property of mine has generated more interest in TV and movies than MS. TREE. Plans for an elaborate reprinting of the entire run are on hold until we see if this time the dream really does come true. And Terry and I are champing at the bit to do a new graphic novel about our favorite female vigilante.

No other comic book stuff is happening right now, though my CSI: NY mini-series at IDW is being published currently. No, I am not writing the CSI: NY novels (Stu Kaminsky is) but I did deal with those characters in two CSI: NY puzzles and the aforementioned mini-series, which I presume will be collected as a graphic novel.

Nate Heller Fans of the World — do not despair. For various commercial reasons, Nate has to sit on the bench for a little while longer. You can catch up with in an anthology of race track mysteries that Otto Penzler is doing — a new Heller short story, “That Kind of a Nag,” will appear there. And a great new audio book, unabridged, of THE MILLION-DOLLAR WOUND is out right now.

Thank you for your interest and support, and I hope to see many of you soon at signings and other personal appearances. Your support of ROAD TO PARADISE will keep things moving forward, and a purchase of the Neo-Noir BLACK BOX will further our indie adventures.